PETERIS VASKS (b.1946): The Tomtit's Message, Silent Songs, Our Mother's Names, The Sad Mother, Summer, Plainscapes (Sandis Steinbergs [violin], Guna Aboltina [cello]), Small, Warm Holiday, Birth (Janis Kokins [percussion]).

Catalogue Number: 02N079

Label: Ondine

Reference: ODE 1194-2

Format: CD

Price: $15.98

Description: Vasks is widely celebrated for his substantial sacred oeuvre; this collection concentrates on his equally uplifting, spiritually stirring compositions to secular texts, specifically poetry of his beloved native Latvia, evoking that country's rich history, culture and nature. As usual, the composer's idiom is based in the reassuring consonances of tonality, and some of the beautiful, shorter songs remain largely within the confines of this comforting, wistful yet ultimately optimistic vocabulary. Even here, though, swooping phrase-endings flavor the music with a distinctive suggestion of open-air, archaic folk music. Such innovative choral techniques, that in a different context could sound more 'experimental' than they do here, are more fully explored in the longer, more complex pieces - the vocalizations of The Tomtit's Message, for instance or Plainscapes, with its flexible choral vocalise and sonorous instrumental and vocal effects evoking the vastness of the landscapes of the Latvian lowlands, or the eerie soundscapes of Birth surrounding a kernel of Latvian folk-music. Here, against a background of ancient lament, the profoundly spiritual dimension of Vasks' unique form of musical poetry is most completely expressed. Latvian-English texts. Latvian Radio Choir; Sigvards Klava.

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