£4.99 – £11.99
CHORAL MUSIC FROM LATVIA
ALTERA VERITAS Ensemble
Māris Sirmais, conductor
Pēteris Vasks, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Rihards Dubra, Valts Pūce, Arturs Maskats
For our first western recording we wanted to produce an album that would bring together the music of Latvian composers who are currently highly regarded in Latvia. Kamēr… has particularly focused on composers who have meant the most to the choir, during its years of performance. It is the music of these composers that has enabled Kamēr… to win many competitions at International Festivals around the world. All of the works on this album are premier recordings
and have been dedicated specifically to Kamēr….
Pēteris Vasks originally wrote his Report of the Titmouse for women’s choir but I asked him to arrange a version for mixed choir. I believe that this version produces a far richer sound. The composition represents an outstanding concentration of Vasks’ choir work; it embodies everything that makes Vasks’ music the music that it is. He has composed many wonderful songs for choirs but if others are based on a single mood and technique, then in Report of the Titmouse Pēteris Vasks has brought together all of the best elements of his past choral works. When we won the European Grand Prix, this composition played an important role in our achieving that goal. Also on this album we have the unique composition Plainscapes, which Vasks wrote for
Gidon Kremer, Marta Sudraba and Kamēr…
Ēriks Ešenvalds is represented on the album with three compositions. First, there is the wonderful American spiritual Amazing Grace. Everyone knows this simple melody, and Ēriks has produced a beautiful and sumptuous arrangement for an eight-voice choir. He did this for Kamēr… on his own initiative. It was a lovely gift, although I have to say that I kept it in a drawer of my desk for a long time – we just didn’t have a concert programme in which to include Amazing Grace until we found a chance last Christmas. Next, there is Ēriks’ legendary dedication to Mother Teresa, A Drop in the Ocean, which was composed for the Fourth World Choir Olympiad in China. Finally, there is Go Away, Rain. My singers say that it is more than a song; it is a whole event to experience. We are pleased that with this song we have been able to work with the Altera Veritas ensemble, with which we have long had a special relationship. Egīls Štāls sings in Kamēr… and is also the ensemble’s manager. One of the leaders of Altera Veritas, Ieva Mežgaile, used to sing in Kamēr…. Our paths cross from time to time and Ēriks’ Go Away, Rain, was a good catalyst for further co-operation.
Rihards Dubra’s Laententur caeli, recorded here on this album, has been sung around the world. We have performed some of Rihards’ compositions. His best known, Te Deum, has been recorded already and the entire Latvian choral world took part in its performance at the last Song Festival. Laententur caeli, however, represents the first time that Kamēr… has recorded any of Rihards’ songs by itself.
Since we had never recorded the Latvia: Land of the Sun cycle, which had been composed by the best Latvian composers in collaboration with Vaira Vi e-Freiberga, Latvia’s ex-President, we decided to record the very best and most successful songs from the cycle. First was Ešenvalds’ Go Away, Rain, which was lauded not only in Latvia but also at the NATO summit of 2006, then Valts Pūce’s Silver Rose the Sun and finally we used Arturs Maskats’ Midsummer Song.
This CD has a special look thanks to Ilmārs Blumbergs, who has essentially dedicated an entire library of artwork for Kamēr… We see hands held in prayer – hands which create a mountain and an endless space – the Universe, in which we see sparkling stars. Those are our composers – small planets upon which beautiful treasures of art are born. We have always yearned for the mountains of our dreams and ideals.