Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

Record Box

Enviable craftsmanship

21st century Latvian
symphonic music,
reviewed by

LNSO    LNSO 001

Latvian Symphonic Music - 21st Century. © 2004 Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

Four works in this concert of new Latvian music inspire a healthy curiosity, for if there is this, then there must be so much more. It is all music of high calibre from composers with a sure skill and enviable craftsmanship.

Arturs Maskats, born in 1957, composed his Tango for this orchestra in 2002 and a year later it was among the final group of pieces chosen for the London Symphony Orchestra's Masterprize. It is a wonderfully vivid evocation of a very typical dance form preserved as well in the Baltic countries as in Finland. This performance features the bandoneon, played by Aldis Jurisons, a small voice amid the ebullience at the end of the piece [listen -- track 1, 10:08-11:36].

The tone-poem Viatore by Peteris Vasks (born 1946) is a work for string orchestra, written in the summer of 2001, and tells of a traveller through life whose journey is illuminated 'by the endless silence of the starry universe' [listen -- track 2, 0:40-2:00].

Aivars Kalejs, born 1951, is both composer and organist, and was so moved by the events of 11 September 2001 that he dedicated his Musica dolente to the innocent victims -- '... what can we do against a violence that does not want to interact with the earth's love ...' with its patterns of simultaneous slow and mesmerising descending and ascending scales [listen -- track 3, 13:53-15:23].

The fourth composer featured in this exciting and valuable introduction to the Latvians is Andris Riekstins, a former principal violinist with the Television and Radio Light Orchestra, born in 1957, whose composition XX Post scriptum has a memorable muscular energy about it that holds the attention throughout its 18 minutes [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:16].

Sound and balance is as splendid as the musical experience.

Copyright © 7 January 2006 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Latvian Symphonic Music - 21st Century

LNSO 001 Stereo FIRST RELEASE 62'15" 2004 Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

Aldis Jurisons, bandeneon (Maskats); Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Normunds Vaicis, conductor (Maskats and Vasks); Andris Nelsons, conductor (Kalejs); Normunds Sne, conductor (Riekstins)

Arturs Maskats (born 1957): Tango (2002); Peteris Vasks (born 1946): Viatore (2001); Aivars Kalejs (born 1951): Musica dolente; Andris Riekstins (born 1957): XX Post scriptum (2001)


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