Survey launched to study remote working among Latvians living abroad and return migrants

Restrictions caused by the pandemic have sped up digitalisation processes worldwide and have led to companies and institutions wholly or partly shifting to remote working. Migration researchers at the University of Latvia launched a study with the aim to identify incentives that the government can utilise for Latvia to become a choice for remote working for members of the diaspora and return migrants, as well as to evaluate the main obstacles and necessary adjustments that need to be made to taxation, social support, labour market regulation and in other areas.

As the labour market is transformed, opportunities to make amendments to relevant legislation will help to include in the Latvian labour market those people who are working abroad, or the nature of whose work permits remote working, or, alternatively, promote return migration to Latvia, retaining employment abroad.

Within the scope of the study, commenced in June this year, we have already conducted in-depth interviews and have now launched a survey.

We invite the following people to complete the survey:

  • those of you who live abroad and return migrants who already work remotely or from home (regardless, in which country)
    OR
  • those of you whose work would allow them to work remotely either wholly or in part, without being restricted to a specific place.

Are you are in any of these categories? We would be grateful if you would be willing to spend approximately 15 minutes of your time to take part in this study.

The survey may be completed in either Latvian, English or Russian.

We hope this will allow us all to gain valuable information and will assist companies and institutions in Latvia in adapting to the transformation of the labour market in a timely manner, making it easier to work remotely – across borders.

The research project is implemented by the University of Latvia with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia.

The survey may be completed until 24 September.

The findings of the study will be published on the website diaspora.lu.lv and migracija.lv.

Inta Mieriņa ir projekta "Labklājība un integrācija migrācijas kontekstā" zinātniskā vadītāja, ieguvusi socioloģijas doktora grādu Latvijas Universitātes Sociālo Zinātņu fakultātē.

Compilation of Imants Kalniņš’ orchestral works released on 5 CD set

Few Latvian composers have achieved a similar level of success and renown as Imants Kalniņš. Both his popular songs and academic works are beloved by many Latvians, and his contribution to Latvian culture is immeasurable.

His academic work, particularly for symphony orchestra, is a cornerstone of the Latvian academic music repertoire, and, recognizing this, the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Atvars Lakstīgala and Māris Sirmais) endeavored to record and release all of Kalniņš’ orchestral works. Released in 2020, the five CD set, entitled Imants Kalniņš: Complete Symphonies & Concertos, gathers all seven of Kalniņš’ symphonies, three concertos, and two additional symphonic works.

A few of the works on this collection were previously released on 2017’s Imants Kalniņš and on 2015’s Sound of Freedom, but this is the first time several of the works (particularly the early symphonies and concertos) are released on CD.

Kalniņš’ best known and most popular symphonic work remains his Symphony No. 4, composed in 1973, nicknamed the ‘Rock’ symphony for its use of rock instruments like bass guitar, as well as its driving percussion. The version on this set is with the instrumental fourth movement (as opposed to the vocal movement used in other releases of this symphony). The appearance of a work in this style (especially considering that it was the early 1970s, still deep within the Soviet occupation of Latvia), achieved a notable resonance in society, and, even today, the work, with its energy and melodic elements, still sounds fresh and vital.

Kalniņš’ first three symphonies, less well known and composed in more traditional, academic styles, still reveal many of the embryonic elements that would make Kalniņš so beloved over the coming decades. The first symphony, composed in 1964, is often weighty and harsh, possibly influenced by early 20th century Russian composers like Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Symphony No. 2 (1965) could be considered more theatrical, the orchestra expressing a kind of dramatic action, but with Kalniņš’ talent for melody now becoming readily apparent (particularly the gentle melody of the second movement). The brief and dance-like Symphony No. 3, with its airy, almost dainty sound, could almost be ballet music, but still has some jarring tonal shifts (the tense, percussive second movement becomes a tragic funeral march in the third movement).

Themes of mysticism and magic often can be found in Kalniņš’ popular songs, and his Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra (2012) also has a mystical atmosphere, with the composer using the sound of the oboe to conjure a vision of an enchanted place of mythical beings. This recording was conducted by noted choir conductor Māris Sirmais, which is perhaps why the sound of the oboe seems to simulate a voice or a song.

Kalniņš added a choir to his Symphony No. 6 (2001), and, on this recording, it is the State Choir Latvija, also conducted by Sirmais. Here Kalniņš is again in storytelling form, with evocative passages seemingly illustrating what might be a victory celebration. The choir appears in the tender, gentle second movement, singing love poetry by Rabindranath Tagore (the text is, unfortunately, not included in the liner notes), while in the fourth movement, the work takes a more somber, sacred turn. This symphony is one of Kalniņš’ most meditative works, presenting a kind of spiritual journey.

Imants Kalniņš is a towering figure in Latvian music, one that has achieved major success in both popular and academic genres, and this collection of his symphonic works serves as a fitting tribute to such an integral figure in Latvian music culture. The Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, conducted by both Atvars Lakstīgala and Māris Sirmais, reveal the vitality and the many facets of Kalniņš music, and Imants Kalniņš: Complete Symphonies & Concertos serves as an emphatic testament to Kalniņš’ indelible contribution not just to music, but to Latvia as well.

For further information, please visit the Skani website

Liepāja Symphony Orchestra

Imants Kalniņš: Complete Symphonies & Concertos

LMIC/SKANI 087, 2020

Track listing

CD 1

Soundtrack to the Film Pūt, vējiņi: Finale

Symphony No. 4

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra

CD 2

Symphony No. 5

Concerto for Orchestra

CD 3

Symphonies No. 6 and 3

CD 4

Symphonies No. 1 and 2

CD 5

Symphony No. 7

Concerto for Oboe

Santa Cruz

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . 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.

Latvian soprano Inga Kalna treasures of late Romanticism on new album

Latvian soprano Inga Kalna, over many decades, has earned worldwide renown for her opera roles. In London she was La Contessa in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, in Hamburg she performed Stella in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and she had many notable roles in Latvia, including Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème and Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Though most of her singing career was in operatic roles, Kalna also excels in solo performances. One of the most notable recent solo concerts she gave was in 2016, at the Dzintari Concert Hall, where, accompanied by pianist and former classmate Diāna Ketlere, she gave a recital of solo songs by German composer Richard Strauss, as well as Latvian composers Jānis Mediņš and Alfrēds Kalniņš. This performance won a Latvian Great Music Award in 2016, and the singer and pianist recorded and released an album with the works entitled Das Rosenband in 2020.

All three composers could be considered Late Romantics (late 19th century / first half of the 20th century), and there are similarities and trends that can be observed in their works. Kalna weaves together these songs into an almost seamless whole, confirming the works of the Latvian composers can readily stand alongside the work of Strauss.

Ketlere’s delicate, sensitive piano performance provides a lovely foundation for Kalna’s rich and nuanced vocals, including her earnest rendition of Strauss’ ‘Allerseelen’ (poetry by Hermann von Gilm), a somber song that celebrates the flowers placed on graves on All Souls’ Day in November, while reminiscing about a love in May.

Kalna’s resonant voice also shines in a stirring rendition of Jānis Mediņš’ ‘Glāsts’ (poetry by Atis Ķeniņš), imbuing the performance with longing, up until the final line ‘tevi meklēs gars vēl mans’ (My soul will search for you).

The theme of the approaching night is referenced in the text of both Strauss’ ‘Die Nacht’ (poetry by Hermann von Glim) and Mediņš’ Nocturno (poetry by Andrass or Alfrēds Andersons). Both works are steeped in dramatic resignation, and Kalna’s delivery of lines like ‘Alles nimmt sie, was nur hold’ ([The night] takes all that is fair) and ‘Viss nogrimst dusā’ (Everything sinks in slumber) adds a poignancy to these songs.

Themes of darkness also appear in Kalniņš’ ‘Jau aiz kalniem, jau aiz birzēm’, with poetry by Andrievs Niedra, a tale of listening to a wanderer’s song. Ketlere’s piano gives the song a dreamy atmosphere, while Kalna’s expressive and vivid vocals relate the narrator’s thoughts on what the wanderer might be singing about, even though it results in the narrator’s sadness – ‘bet manā sirdī mostas gaužas žēlabas’ (but bitter grief awakes in my heart).

The CD booklet includes a few brief notes on the concert program, and brief biographies of the three composers, but, curiously, does not include much information about Kalna or Ketlere. All the song texts are provided, all with English translation.

Inga Kalna calls upon her decades of experience on the stage to make for a truly engaging and absorbing performance on Das Rosenband. Confidently confirming that the solo songs of composers Alfrēds Kalniņš and Jānis Mediņš can stand on equal footing with the works of Richard Strauss, Kalna, along with accompanist Diāna Ketlere, whose piano playing is integral to the success of these performances, bring together these many treasures of late Romanticism and reveal their lyrical and musical beauty.

For further information, please visit Inga Kalna’s website and the Skani website.

Das Rosenband

Inga Kalna, soprano

LMIC/SKANI 083, 2020

Track listing:

1. Richard Strauss Allerseelen, Op. 10 No. 8

2. Jānis Mediņš Uz brītiņu (For a moment)

3. Richard Strauss Morgen!

4. Alfrēds Kalniņš Efeja vija (The ivy)

5. Richard Strauss Breit’ über mein Haupt, Op. 19 No. 2

6. Jānis Mediņš Aicinājums (Invitation)

7. Richard Strauss Zueignung, Op. 10 No. 1

8. Alfrēds Kalniņš Jūras vaidi (The moaning of the sea)

9. Richard Strauss Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op. 27 No. 1

10. Alfrēds Kalniņš Ūdens lilija (The water lily)

11. Richard Strauss Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1

12. Jānis Mediņš Jaunā mīla (New love)

13. Jānis Mediņš Glāsts (The caress)

14. Alfrēds Kalniņš Minjona (Mignon’s song)

15. Richard Strauss Die Nacht, Op. 10 No. 3

16. Jānis Mediņš Nocturno

17. Richard Strauss Heimliche Aufforderung, Op. 27 No. 3

18. Alfrēds Kalniņš Jau aiz kalniem, jau aiz birzēm (Beyond the hills, beyond the groves)

19. Richard Strauss Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . 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.