Chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga releases Vivaldi CD

Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni (or The Four Seasons) is one of the most famous and popular works of the Baroque era, if not of all classical music. The four concertos, each signifying a season of the year, have now been recorded by the chamber orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and have been released on the album Gadalaiki (Latvijas Koncerti, LK 026, 2016).

In addition to the Seasons concertos, the album also includes three of Vivaldi’s sonatas for violin, cello and harpsichord – the Sonatas in A major (RV 31), C major (RV 1) and C minor (RV 6). The works are performed by Vineta Sareika (violin), Guna Šnē (cello) and Estonian Reinuts Teps (harpsichord).

The CD booklet includes notes on Vivaldi – not just biographical information about the Venetian, but also information about his music’s place in history and how his music had been largely forgotten for years and was rediscovered by scholars in the 20th century. The notes also include commentaries on the works themselves, and also include Vivaldi’s original poetic notes on each of the movements.

Sinfonietta Rīga, led by conductor and artistic director Normunds Šnē, will be participating in many festivals in the summer of 2016, including the Pärnu Music Festival, the Cēsis Art Festival, and the Salacgrīva International Classical Music Festival.

For further information, please visit the Sinfonietta Rīga website and the Latvian Concert Agency website.

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

Skyforger reissues folk song album “Zobena dziesma”

Latvian pagan metal band has reissued their long out of print 2003 album Zobena dziesma (Thunderforge Records, TFR 003). In contrast to the heavy metal musical style on their other albums, Zobena dziesma is an album made up entirely of Latvian folk songs performed in a traditional manner.

The songs, mainly about war and Latvian mythology, also feature well known Latvian folk musicians, such as Kaspars Bārbals from the group Auļi on bagpipes.

The CD booklet contains all the lyrics, as well as English translations.

The album also includes two bonus tracks – “Pār kalniņu Ūsiņš jāj” and “Cekulaina zīle dzied”, both recorded in 2006.

In other Skyforger news, the band’s 2015 album Senprūsija was awarded the Latvian Gold Microphone award for being 2015’s best hard rock/heavy metal album.

The band will be performing at a number of European festivals in the summer of 2016, including Steelfest Open Air 2016 in Helsinki, Finland, the Under the Black Sun Festival 2016 in Bernau, Germany, and the Positivus Festival in Salacgrīva, Latvia.

For further information, please visit the Skyforger website.

 

Track listing:

  1. Sen dzirdēju, nu ieraugu
  2. Zobena dziesma
  3. Parkiuns vede vedeklenu
  4. Gatavs biju karavīrs
  5. Apkārt kalnu gāju
  6. Prūšu meita karā jāja
  7. Aiziedams pērkons grauda
  8. Sidrabiņa upe tek
  9. Migla, migla, rasa, rasa
  10. Zirgi zviedza
  11. Kur tu jāsi bāleliņi?
  12. Zviegtin’zviedza kara zirgi
  13. O kai saulutė tekėjo

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.

Fairy Tale series “Eža Kažociņš” coin released

As the first commemorative collector’s coin released in 2016, the Bank of Latvia has chosen to continue the Fairy Tale (‘’Pasaku monēta’) series (the first release – ‘Pieci kaķi’ was released in 2015), this time producing a coin inspired by the Latvian folk fable ‘Eža kažociņš’ (Hedgehog’s Coat).

‘Eža kažociņš’, the story of a hedgehog that, regardless of his small stature, is able to herd pigs in the forest. The hedgehog, using his cleverness and bravery, marries the princess and he himself turns into a prince. One of the most popular variations of the story was by Vilis Plūdonis in 1921, as well as poet Māra Zālīte’s interpretation in 1991.

The oval shaped coin, minted by UAB Lietuvos monetų kalykla (Lithuania), was designed by Gundega Muzikante, and the plaster model was created by Ligita Franckeviča. The silver proof quality coin has a mintage of 10,000 and has a nominal value of 5 Euro.

This is not the first time the hedgehog has appeared on Latvian currency – a special 1 Lats coin was produced in 2012.

A video about the coin (in Latvian with English subtitles) can be viewed here.

In addition to Fairy Tale Coin II, further collector’s releases planned for this year will include the following themes:

The 150th anniversary of the birth of Latvian artist Janis Rozentāls

  • Latvian porcelain
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Golden Brooch I (The first coin in the planned three-coin series dedicated to the centenary of the State of Latvia in 2018)
  • The Christmas Battles
  • Innovative coin The Earth

For further information, please visit the Bank of Latvia Collector’s Coin website.

 

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area who lives in Rīga, Latvia. When not working in the information technology field, he sings in the Latvian Academy of Culture mixed choir Sõla, does occasional translation work, and has been known to sing and play guitar at the Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs in Old Rīga. Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.