Secular choral music by Vasks featured on new Finnish label release

The Finnish record label Ondine, in cooperation with Latvijas koncerti, has released Plainscapes, a collection of Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks’ choral music performed by the Latvian Radio Choir and conducted by Sigvards Kļava.

The compact disc collects a broad range of Vasks’ secular choral music, with works from the 1970s through 1990s, as well as the first decade of the new millennium.

All lyrics are in Latvian, with poetry by well-known Latvian authors such as Uldis Bērziņš, Knuts Skujenieks and Inese Zandere.

Including such better known works such as “Zīles ziņa” (The Tomtit’s Message) and “Klusās dziesmas” (Silent Songs), Plainscapes also features some works that are being released on CD for the first time, such as “Mūsu māšu vārdi” (Our Mothers’ Names), “Skumjā māte” (The Sad Mother), “Vasara” (Summer) and “Mazi, silti svētki” (Small, Warm Holiday).

The CD booklet also contains an in-depth interview with the composer (in English) by Ināra Jakubone of the Latvian Music Information Centre.

This is the second Ondine CD to feature the Latvian Radio Choir performing the choral works of Vasks. The first, Pater noster, featured sacred works and was released in 2007. Ondine has released a number of CDs featuring the works of Vasks, including his Symphony No. 2 and Violin Concerto “Distant Light” in 2003 and Symphony No. 3 and Cello Concerto in 2006. The Latvian Radio Choir has also recorded the works of other composers for Ondine, for example Rachmaninov’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in 2010.

Tracks on the CD include:

  1. The Tomtit’s Message (Zīles ziņa, 1981/2004) and Silent Songs (Klusās dziesmas, 1979/1992)
  2. I. Nosāpi pārsāpi
  3. II. Dusi dusi
  4. III. Trīs meži
  5. IV. Paldies tev vēlā saule
  6. Our Mothers’ Names (Mūsu māšu vārdi, 1977/2003)
  7. The Sad Mother (Skumja māte, 1980/91)
  8. Summer (Vasara, 1978)
  9. Plainscapes (Līdzenuma ainavas, 2002)
  10. Small, Warm Holiday (Mazi, silti svētki, 1988)
  11. Birth (Piedzimšana, 2008)

For more on Vasks, visit the Latvian Music Information Centre’s website, For information on the Latvian Radio Choir, visit


Secular choral music composed by Pēteris Vasks is featured on the recently released Plainscapes recording.

Where to buy

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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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