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!
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.
MusicWeb International ,30.08.2017
"Gentle music, touchingly sung and introducing non-Latvian listeners to some lustrous delights." - Rob Barnett