New silver commemorative coin Jāzeps Vītols, circulation kokle

The Bank of Latvia has released a new silver commemorative one Lats coin in honor of composer Jāzeps Vītols, as well as a new circulation one Lats coin with the image of the kokle, a Latvian folk instrument.

Composer Jāzeps Vītols, who celebrates his 150th birthday in 2013, is considered by many to be the father of Latvian choir music. His choir works, including works like “Ziemeļblāzma”, “Karaļmeita”, “Beverīnas dziedonis”, among many others, are a fixture of Latvian Song Festival programs. “Gaismas pils”, his best known choir work, is considered to be the most often performed Latvian choir piece (considering that the Latvian national anthem was not performed during Soviet times, but “Gaismas pils” was). Though well known for his choir music, Vītols also composed many solo songs, as well as piano and symphonic music.

The proof quality Vītols coin was minted by Koninklijke Nederlandse Munt (the Netherlands), and the artists were Arvīds Priedīte (graphic design) and Jānis Strupulis (plaster model). The coin has a mintage of 3000.

The kokle, a stringed Latvian folk instrument, according the Bank of Latvia website “…is an instrument originating with the ancient Balts and borrowed by the nearby Finno-Ugric tribes (e.g. the Liv kāndla, Finnish kantele, Estonian kannele) and Slavic peoples (Russian gusli), it is also a symbol of kinship and friendly relations.” The instrument is also mentioned in many Latvian folk songs, including “Krauklīts sēž ozolā”. Even today, this ancient instrument is played and studied and continues to be an essential aspect of Latvian folk music.

The circulation coin was minted by Staatliche Münzen Baden-Württemberg (Germany), and the artists were Anna Heinrihsone (graphic design) and Ligita Franckeviča (plaster model).

Both coins are available for purchase at Latvian Bank locations and at Latvian numismatic shops.

For further information, please visit the Bank of Latvia website



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.

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