Music and Vision homepage

Record Box

A Sure Instinct

Music for string orchestra
by Peteris Plakidis,
heard by

Toccata Classics    TOCC 0004

Peteris Plakidis: Music for string orchestra. © 2007 Toccata Classics

Plakidis, born in 1947, is now regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and one strongly bound to his Latvian roots from which he draws freely on the folk music and folk traditions, welding them impressively into a creative voice full of rhythmic vitality and textural sensitivity.

In this recording he is heard as pianist in his Music for Piano, Strings and Timpani, a work that dates from 1969 when it was submitted as his final diploma assignment at the end of his studies at the Latvian Conservatory. It shows a sure instinct for structure, handled as a single 21-minute movement with confidence and distinct inventiveness.

Listen -- Music for Piano, Strings and Timpani (track 1, 4:13-5:25)
© 2007 Toccata Classics

The piano writing sparkles and his dramatic sense is demonstrated by the reserve with which the first entry of the timpani, challenging at last the authority of the piano, is withheld until two-thirds of the way through.

Listen -- Music for Piano Strings and Timpani (track 1, 13:40-15:09)
© 2007 Toccata Classics

There is a Concerto for two oboes and strings, another single movement though a much later work (1982), in which the oboes weave gracefully around each other and over sustained pedals in textures heavy with a folksy atmosphere. A Concerto-Ballad for two violins, piano and strings (1984) draws on the concerto grosso form and style for its constant argumentative interaction between the three soloists (Plakidis again the pianist), and their conflict with the orchestra.

The latest work in this recital dates from 1991 and is a set of three Songs for the Wind and Blood, settings of mystical poems by Astrida Ivanska (about whom there is no information), telling of dreams from within the dark forests, much enhanced by the imaginative string writing. They are sung by mezzo soprano Antra Bigaca.

Listen -- The dark waters of blood are flowing (track 3, 0:00-1:31)
© 2007 Toccata Classics

This is a CD that provides an excellent introduction to an ingenious composer deserving of attention.

Copyright © 10 May 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Plakidis: Music for string orchestra

TOCC 0004 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 59'53" 2007 Toccata Classics

Peteris Plakidis, piano; Antra Bigaca, mezzo soprano; Uldis Urbans, oboe; Vilnis Pelnens, oboe; Andris Pauls, violin; Dzintars Beitans, violin; Riga Chamber Players; Nornmunds Sne, conductor

Peteris Plakidis (born 1947): Music for Piano, Strings and Timpani (1969); Songs for the Wind and Blood (1991) ('No one enters this forest'; 'The dark waters of blood are flowing'; 'Take me, o wind'); Concerto for Two Oboes and Strings (1982); Concerto-Ballad for Two Violins, Piano and Strings (1984)


 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Opera Fantasies >>

Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews