LATVIAN NATIONAL RECORD LABEL

catalogue

Nature and The Soul


works
1. Emils Darzins Long Ago 3:29
/Rainis/
2. Emils Darzins Moonbeams 3:23
/Aspazija/
3. Emils Darzins The Broken Pines 3:12
/Rainis/
4. Emilis Melngailis Nature and the Soul 3:53
/Vilis Plūdons/
5. Emilis Melngailis Latvian Requiem - Move Gently and Quietly 5:29
/Vilis Plūdons/
6. Emilis Melngailis Latvian Requiem - Gently, Slowly 1:10
/Vilis Plūdons/
7. Emilis Melngailis Latvian Requiem - The Sun is Setting 2:04
/Vilis Plūdons/
8. Emilis Melngailis Latvian Requiem - Doomsday 2:48
/Rainis/
9. Jānis Zālītis The Goblet on the Isle of the Dead 4:46
/Jānis Poruks/
10. Jēkabs Graubiņš Night Has Entered the Forest 3:01
/Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš/
11. Jazeps Vitols The Day is Ending 1:40
/Anna Brigadere/
12. Jazeps Vitols The Moon Lied 1:19
/Aspazija/
13. Jazeps Vitols The Enchanted Forest 3:43
/Vilis Plūdons/
14. Jazeps Vitols The Dwarves and the Old Man of the Forest 4:05
/Vilis Plūdons/
15. Jazeps Vitols The King and the Mushroom 02:32
/Fricis Bārda/
16. Jazeps Vitols David Before Saul 08:05
/Fricis Bārda/
17. Jazeps Vitols The Sun’s Revelry 03:23
/Fricis Bārda/
performers

Latvian Radio Choir

Kaspars Putniņš, conductor

series
1
recorded
2016
description

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!

Kaspars Putniņš

 

 

review

Martin Cullingford, Gramophone ,01.10.2017


Editor’s Choice, Awards Issue, 2017 EDITOR’S CHOICE introduction: This is a truly beautiful album of Latvian choral works performed by singers clearly immersed in its musical and cultural foundations. Martin Cullingford This is a collection of Latvian choral music selected in honour of the centenary of the independence of Latvia. As conductor Kaspars Putninš says in his introductory note: ‘The majority of Latvian conductors have probably grown up with these songs whose imagery, sound and colour are deeply encoded in our consciousness … Working on this album, I have felt as if I am writing a love letter.’ It sounds that way. One is gripped by the very first track, the atmospheric, insistent prophecy that is ‘Senatne’ (‘Long Ago’) by Emīls Dārziņš (1875-1910), every nuance of which is captured by the Latvian Radio Choir. Did they weep while recording the second song by Darzinš, ‘Mēness staro stīgo’ (‘Moonbeams’)? I did. They sing with every fibre of their being. There is, in fact, something extraordinary about Latvian choirs: they sing as though their very lives depend on it, and when they are singing Latvian music their immediate connection with the language makes this even more apparent. There is both Nordic clarity and Slavic profundity to be heard in the sound of a Latvian choir, and there is also what I might call a poetic sense, an instinctive knowledge of how to phrase. All this is beautifully, movingly evident on this disc. All five of the composers recorded here are outstanding but what stays with me is the music by Darzinš and the wonderful, disturbing ‘Biķeris miroņu salā’ (‘The Goblet on the Isle of the Dead’) by Jānis Zālītis. At all events, this is a celebration of Latvian choral music that should not be missed. As Putninš also writes, ‘Many returns of the day, dear Latvia!’


Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International ,30.08.2017


"Gentle music, touchingly sung and introducing non-Latvian listeners to some lustrous delights." - Rob Barnett


Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian ,20.08.2017


Featuring a pure soprano line and sonorously rich basses, the choir charts a path through the development of Latvian choral music, majoring on the works of Jāzeps Vītols (1863-1948), whose extended masterwork, David Before Saul is a highlight, rivalled by Emilis Melngailis’s heartbreaking Move Gently and Quietly.


Richard Fairman, The Financial Times ,10.09.2017


The life-giving rays of the sun are an eternal image in the poetry of the frozen North. In Emilis Melngailis’s “Nature and the Soul”, which gives this disc its title, music with its roots in the folklore of the region adds its voice. In time for the centenary of Latvia’s independence in 2018, the Latvian Radio Choir and its director, Kaspars Putninš, have chosen to showcase five of their native composers from the early decades of the 20th century. The music is mostly simple, choral ballads couched in a succinct expressive language. The choir’s singing, as always, is exemplary.


https://www.ft.com/content/fef093c2-8091-11e7-a4ce-15b2513cb3ff

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