Release date - December 1, 2017
“Music is the breath of the soul,” said Lūcija Garūta. And I believe that is exactly what she did – she wrote music at times when she could not do otherwise.
This album and indeed my encounter with Garūta’s world began with her Piano Concerto. Among Latvian piano concertos, hers is truly a significant and special composition owing to its unusually acute honesty. And, even though it mediates her very own experience, in it I sometimes also hear the pain of our entire nation. Perhaps that’s because of the folk melodies included within it, for in this work they take on timeless, universal overtones. The other large-scale opus in this album, the Variations, conveys similar power through its use of folk melodies and texts, and through them, it beacons hope. Both of these works are a living testimony to Garūta’s indestructible belief in a bright future, even if such a future can only be found in the afterlife.
Garūta’s combination of femininity and fearlessness, fragility and strength also permeates the shorter pieces on this album. The four Preludes are a true masterpiece recalling Scriabin’s tonal colours; the four different characters expressed in the work are at once united and contrasted. The Meditation, in this version for solo piano, allows us once again to get closer to Garūta’s soul. And the final Little Doll’s Lulling Song came to me completely by accident (or perhaps not so): once when I was visiting Garūta’s apartment in Rīga, I happened to open one of her photo albums, and a small piece of paper fell out of it, upon which this little song was sketched out very lightly in pencil. It was dedicated to the very same little girl to whose memory she dedicated the Piano Concerto seven years later.
This year marks 40 years since Garūta’s passing. In this context, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Daina Pormale, the granddaughter of Garūta’s sister, who with much love and care has been continuously handing down our dear Lūcija’s legacy to me and to future generations.
In short, Garūta reminds me to seek to stay truthful – and for that I thank her.
The work of our trio revolves around collaboration with contemporary Latvian composers. Seeing as there is almost no music originally written for the specific composition of our group - cello, piano and percussion - we need to take an active role in the creation of such music. And for that we need composers, who create the fertile soil for our ‘artichoke’ to grow and flourish. It is precisely in this creative interaction with composers, listeners and concert organisers that the art-i-shock is born: creative surprise, musical adventure. Over the few years of our existence, we’ve already reaped quite an armful of artichokes. And soon they will be joined by already a twentieth piece of music.
They differ very much from each other, and together they form quite a mosaic. They are as diverse as the ardour and sincerity conveyed by their creators during the recording process. But together, our wonderful composers have created a large, beautiful meadow, into which listeners may wade and surrender themselves to the experience of sound, or the art-i-shock.
This album recorded at the Riga Cathedral and the compositions on it reflect modern man's road to the church or temple. This road to spirituality – the progression, the pace at which each step, each new composition directs one's sights in another direction – leads listeners to experience new horizons and depths. And every step, every composition merges into a single, essential awareness.
Release date - 18.08.2017
The wonderful works chosen for this album – each one with its own story and distinct character – collectively create something similar to a dear childhood home to which we need to return from time to time.
The majority of Latvia’s choir conductors have probably grown up with these songs whose imagery, sound and colour are deeply encoded in our consciousness, perhaps to a much greater extent than we realise.
The subdued northern nature that bursts into a lavish display at the height of summer and the “various emotional states of the soul”, as Emīls Dārziņš described the subjects that interested him in music – these two themes, their refined interrelations and the resultant imagery are to my mind the most important features of our choral music.
It is very important for me to feel how the fantastic world of these songs comes to life again in our consciousness and imagination at a time when life is changing all around us and individual experience has once again added something new and come full circle. It is important to return home to meet one’s self.
Working on this album, I have felt as if I am writing a love letter. On your one hundredth birthday I wish you many returns of the day, dear Latvia!
This is not simply well-written music for quintet; it is good music in and of itself. the seeming simplicity and sincerity of this music provides profound emotional and spiritual joy – all in all, it is perhaps the most beautiful material found in the quintet repertoire