UGIS PRAULINS (b.1957): Missa Rigensis, Laudibus in sanctis, MAIJA EINFELDE (b.1939): A Cycle of Fricis Barda Poems, URMAS SISASK (b.1960): Benedictio, VYTAUTAS MISKINIS (b.1954): Angelis suis Deus, Pater noster.
Catalogue Number: 03L119
Reference: CDA 67747
Description: Praulins gets the lion's share of this disc, the main work being his fine Mass, originally for the choir and acoustic of Riga's mediæval cathedral. Setting the traditional text in Latin, the piece lends elements of fresh modern harmonic, rhythmic and textural thinking to a polyphonic tradition traceable through the baroque to the Renaissance. The Gloria has a lively, popular appeal, while the opening Kyrie is rich and magnificent; other sections have a simple, hymn-like quality or a pulsating urgency, not unlike minimalism, but without its repetitiveness. The composer's fondness for syncopated rhythms identifies the piece as a modern work, but one respectful of tradition. Einfelde's Cycle of poems by Fricis Barda is darkly luminous, with unexpected dissonances and equally unexpected resolution into glowing modal harmonies. This music has a hushed intensity that is most compelling. Sisask's brief Benedictio has a chant-like quality, unfolding into a ritual ecstasy. Miskinis is represented by two beautiful, euphonic melodic works, over pulsating accompaniments like a resting heartbeat. Praulins' Laudibus combines baroque figuration with an insistent rhythmic pulse borrowed from outside the norms of classical music; like his Mass, a modern take on an ancient tradition. Latin, Latvian-English texts. Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge; Stephen Layton.