Sinfonietta Rīga perform contemporary Latvian composers’ works on recent CD

The Sinfonietta Rīga chamber orchestra has been led by conductor and artistic director Normunds Šnē since the ensemble was founded in 2006. One of the goals of the ensemble is to promote new orchestral compositions by Latvian composers, and they have worked with dozens of Latvian composers throughout their decade and a half of performance.

A recent example is a collection of works by composers Andris Dzenītis, Platons Buravickis, Linda Leimane, and Ruta Paidere, released at the end of 2021. The disparate and eclectic compositions reveal the depth and variety of modern Latvian academic music.

Andris Dzenītis, a composer in his mid 40s, has, in his many decades of composition, already created a large and diverse body of work. His contribution to this collection is the comparatively brief (six minute) Euphoria, an overture for chamber orchestra. Though a shorter work, it presents a concentrated and distilled example of Dzenītis’ musical vision. The work is meant as a tribute to the late composer Pēteris Plakidis, whose orchestral works also had expansive, dramatic elements. Euphoria begins in a celebratory mood, but then quickly dissolves into an uncertain, tense atmosphere – perhaps this is meant as Dzenītis presenting both the actual euphoria, as well as the many after-effects of euphoric feelings.

Platons Buravickis, still in his early thirties, has already established himself with his compositions, at times experimental, at times romantic, his works encompass a broad range – from intimate chamber music pieces to large scale orchestral works. This collection presents his Concerto for Saxophone Plastmases temperatūra (Temperature of Plastics) featuring saxophonist Aigars Raumanis. The work has an environmental theme – it could be interpreted as a warning to humanity about pollution. Accordingly, the work has an ominous, foreboding tone – punctuated by Raumanis’ saxophone performance.  Raumanis has both flighty, delicate solo phrases (perhaps representing birds?) which alternate with interactions with the harsh, crashing percussion of the orchestra. There is barely any respite from the harshness throughout the work, even to the very end, when the work crescendos into what sounds like an alarm, then ends suddenly.

Composer Linda Leimane’s works are full of emotion and drama, such as Ray-Bows, included on this collection. Neither the CD booklet nor the composer’s website offers much in the way of programmatic notes (save for the score, which says ‘Brutally, hearts of iron’) so it is entirely up to the listener to interpret the work for themselves. The work is filled with dramatic tension, and is in a near constant state of motion, with frequent rising arpeggios, perhaps suggesting flight.

Hamburg-based Latvian composer Ruta Paidere’s work Tempera is a contrast to the other works on this collection – Paidere’s composition is calmer, quieter, with a kind of meandering quality. Paidere builds textures using the sounds of the orchestra, layering one on top of another, occasionally harmonious, but occasionally discordant. There is a sense of unease throughout the work, as small changes in tone have an unsettling effect, a sense of unsteadiness. The work has a long, gradual crescendo before quietly dissipating at the conclusion.

Sinfonietta Rīga and conductor Normunds Šnē reveal the many layers and textures of these four works. Technically difficult (requiring a skillful orchestra, such as Sinfonietta Rīga), deep, dramatic – these compositions by Andris Dzenītis, Platons Buravickis, Linda Leimane, and Ruta Paidere display both a broad spectrum of sounds and emotions, as well as compositional skill and creativity.

For further information, please visit the Skani website and the Sinfonietta Rīga website.

Dzenītis, Buravickis, Leimane, Paidere

Sinfonietta Rīga, conductor Normunds Šnē

LMIC/SKANi 130, 2021

Track listing:

  1. Euphoria – Andris Dzenītis
  2. Concerto for Saxophone Plastmases temperatūra (Temperature of Plastics) – Platons Buravickis
  3. Ray-Bows – Linda Leimane
  4. Tempera – Ruta Paidere

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.

Aptauja tiem, kuri pēdējos 10 gados atgriezušies Latvijā no dzīves emigrācijā

Lai noskaidrotu atgriešanās apstākļus un nosacījumus dažādos Latvijas reģionos, Latvijas Universitātes pētnieki veic pētījumu.

Dzīves un darba iespējas reģionos ir viens no svarīgiem faktoriem, kas nosaka, vai no Latvijas aizbraukušie atgriezīsies, kā arī kur tie izvēlēsies dzīvot pēc atgriešanās.

Lai labāk saprastu, kā sociāli-ekonomisko situāciju Latvijā un savā pilsētā vai novadā vērtē tie, kuri izlēmuši atgriezties, ar ko viņi šobrīd nodarbojas, kas mudinājis atgriezties un ar kādiem izaicinājumiem nācies saskarties, Latvijas Universitātes migrācijas pētnieki sadarbībā ar Latgales pārstāvniecību īsteno aptauju. Tās mērķis noskaidrot, kā ir mainījušās dzīves un darba iespējas Latvijas reģionos, un kādi apstākļi veicina vai kavē remigrantu iekļaušanos darba tirgū vai savas uzņēmējdarbības uzsākšanu. Pētījums palīdzēs sagatavot priekšlikumus atbalsta instrumentu plānošanai un ieviešanai, lai veicinātu un atbalstītu atgriešanos Latvijā.

Ja Jūs pēdējo 10 gadu laikā esat atgriezies/-usies Latvijā, aicinām Jūs piedalīties aptaujā!

Lai piedalītos aptaujā, lūdzu, klikškiniet šeit: . Anketas aizpildes ilgums ir aptuveni 15 minūtes. Aptauju var aizpildīt latviešu vai angļu valodā.

Aptaujas norises laiks ir līdz 5.decembrim.

Inta Mieriņa ir LU Sociālo zinātņu fakultātes asociētā profesore, LU Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta vadošā pētniece un Diasporas un migrācijas pētījumu centra direktore.

A lifetime of experiences on new album by Raimonda Vazdika

Latvian actress Raimonda Vazdika has had a long and distinguished career, which is still going strong after many decades in theater and performance. Besides being an accomplished actress, someone who has performed many kinds of roles – from small, independent theaters to larger national venues, she also writes poetry and songs, and has recorded multiple solo albums and has multiple published poetry collections.

Her albums include 2001’s Labākās Dienas (which features what may be her most popular song, the wistful and touching ‘Apsoli man neko’), and Vazdika returned in 2022 with her latest album – Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā – a collection of fourteen songs recorded between 2018 and 2020.

Joining Vazdika are the musical members of her “Dzīve virs jumtiem” show – guitarists Ilze Grunte (who also arranged all the songs) and Arnolds Kārklis, Uģis Vītiņš on synthesizers, bass guitarist Ivo Stankevičs or ‘Skrips’ (who sadly passed away in 2021) and drummer Mārtiņš Linde, all of whom work together to bring Vazdika’s dreamy, deeply personal songs to life.

For her songs, Vazdika uses not only her own poetry, but also the works of modern Latvian poets, such as Imants Ziedonis. This is used to great effect in songs like ‘Kaija’, Ziedonis’ ode to a seagull. Vazdika’s interpretation of the poetry results in a gently flowing and melodic performance. This is a newer recording of an older song (the song first appeared on Labākās Dienas, but that version was performed by actor Ivars Stonins).

The theme of birds and flight appear throughout the album, perhaps reflecting Vazdika’s free spirit, and can be heard in songs such as the reserved and contemplative ‘Pirms dzērves projām dodas’ (poetry by Ziedonis) and the spirited ‘Putnu būrītim jumts nobraucis’.

Themes of melancholy and sadness are present throughout many of the songs, such as the undulating ‘Dziļi aprakts viss’, and the somber ‘Laika logs’. However, there are uplifting moments, such as on the waltz-like ‘Visu labu’ and the light French touch on ‘Pirmspēdējais valsis’. There are hopeful interludes as well, such as ‘Manam sargeņģelim’, a tender, fragile song about a guardian angel.

At times refined and delicate, others melancholy and pensive, the songs on Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā are woven together by Raimonda Vazdika’s rich alto voice and expressive vocals. Vazdika’s words reveal a lifetime of experiences, with the occasional twinge of bitterness, but not lacking in optimism. Backed up by a talented group of musicians that, through Ilze Grunte’s arrangements, create an immersive musical atmosphere, Vazdika’s intimate and melodic songs make for engrossing and captivating listening.

For further information, please visit the Lauska Raimonda Vazdika page.

Vēstules rokrakstā smalkā

Raimonda Vazdika

Lauska, CD07, 2022

Track listing:

  1. Kaija
  2. Pirms dzērves projām dodas
  3. Putnu būrītim jumts nobraucis
  4. Pēc ziemas nāk ziema
  5. Ir tādi cilvēki
  6. Pasaciņa
  7. Nav zināms
  8. Laika logs
  9. Pirmspēdējais valsis
  10. Dziļi aprakts viss
  11. Visu labu
  12. Tas skumjais klauns
  13. Manam sargeņģelim
  14. Nav jārunā

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.