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Latvian music


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Author Topic: Latvian music  (Read 7089 times)
cjvinthechair
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2012, 08:56:13 pm »

Gentemen - & particularly Mr. Latvian - you cannot imagine how much hard work this magnificent thread is providing for an ignoramus willing to learn.
Thought I'd done pretty well 'sorting' the Barisons uploads in 40 mins, or so; sifting out what I've got, what I want and whether I agree with any/everyone's opinion on what's best etc. for the recent uploads will take much of a day....and won't it be a wonderful way to spend it !

Being part this this and other such music sites has been as much fun as I've had in years (yeah, I know, need to get out more !). Many thanks to all.
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Clive
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« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2012, 01:43:09 pm »

cjvinthechair -- you're very welcome. I'm glad I've been able to help you while away the hours pleasantly. After all, isn't that what much of this forum is about, ultimately. Be forewarned, however -- there is much more music to come, especially from Latvia!

Holger -- thank you for your excellent summation of Skulte's symphonies. I agree with most of your insights and observations. I have to admit that over the years, I've probably spent much more time with Ivanovs' symphonies than Skulte's, and to some extent I can relate to Greg's feelings. There are stretches of Skulte's symphonies that don't really engage me as much as they probably should, either. My advice to you, Greg, is to keep at it and give it some time. Don't try to force it either. Listen to other music (especially Latvian  Wink), and then come back to it.

Yes, the 8th is still my favorite Skulte symphony. I hope listeners can find their way into the heart of this work as well. Admitedly, it has more significance for me, and more to grab onto initially, because of the folksong quotes. I was familiar with these folksongs decades before I ever heard the symphony. But, one of the magical aspects of this work is what he does with those themes -- how he harmonizes them, weaves them into the work, expands on them, etc. I think if you feel the urge to get to know this work better, this is a good way to approach it, keeping the "sea" theme in mind. Listen to how the work unfolds. Also, an interesting contrast is to listen to his early symphonic poem "Waves" (also in the uploads) and constrast the very impressionistic character of the early work with the more reserved style of the symphony. Then again, there are similarities, too!

One final comment. I wouldn't give the "peace" theme in the 1st symphony much significance. Back in the late '40s and early '50s, this was a propaganda topic dear to the Soviet government, and composers were required to address subjects such as this in their music as part of socialist realism. More than one Latvian musician who lived through that period has told me that, in addition, it was pretty much mandatory to write a cantata or symphony extolling Stalin and/or Lenin, to show your loyalty to the state and its supposed ideals, or there would be serious repercussions to your career or health. I like the 1st Symphony very much, as a fine example of Skulte's wonderful stylistic melding of impressionism, late Romanticism, and nascent modernism, but it could just as easily be about something completely unrelated to peace. When I listen to the work, I never give the supposed theme a thought and enjoy the music on its own merits. From all accounts, Skulte was never a true believer nor a toady.
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rbert12
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2012, 04:38:49 pm »

My most heartfelt thanks for all your uploads but specially for Kalsons symphonies, after buying some years ago a CD with his Cello and Violin Concertos I have been interested in this composer, but without much chance to listen to others works.
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2012, 04:45:06 pm »

I have updated the Kalsons catalogue accordingly Smiley
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Elroel
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2012, 02:28:13 pm »

Maris,

After giving us the symphonies of Skulte, you now provided us with the symphonies of Romuald Kalsons. A week ago I got my copy of the Simax cd with his violin concerto.
I had the time to listen to the symphonies and, again, got the feeling why the h... did no company make a recording of these works. Well, Simax knows the composer now and maybe they'll record one or more?
Beautiful, toneful music, almost romantic, but with a modern sound, IMO. Beautiful orchestrations. I especially loved the 3rd part of the 4th Symphony.
The poem in it sounds nice. You don't have by any chance a translation? and who is the poet?
Or tell at least where it is about?

Anyway, thanks again, my friend,

Roelof (Elroel)

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fr8nks
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« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2012, 05:35:52 pm »

The links have been restored for Kalsons' Violin Concerto and Concerto Grosso. Two excellent works by a fine composer.
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2012, 10:30:35 pm »

Just now as I write I'm listening again to Symphony No.9, - 33' in and the work is just about over.  A "farewell Symphony" you say, - "autumnul", "melancholic", and "retrospective".  I should be in my element here.
But it's not really happening so.  I can relate your words somewhat to the passing sounds at times, and the overall mood I feel some resonance with.  However the themes I just don't find compelling, - not "memorable" as I say,
nor does the piece as whole hang together for me, - it is just a "succession" but not a "coherence".  There are fragments that engage me momentarily, even a few sustained passages I hear some  "call" from.  But overall, - and the piece has now finished - I'm rather indifferent to it.  It's a miss.  I can't say any more.

Whether one is caught by a given piece cannot (and certainly should not) be commanded. I confess having some difficulty to be fully convinced by the final part of the 9th, much as I would like to. In contrast, the slow movement is, to me, fully convincing and something to wallow in. It could be kitsch, and so it is to an extent. It reminds me of atmospheric film music, which is normally not an unmitigated positive comment for me, when it comes to symphonies. Yet, I find it moving and satisfactory. Right now, it reminds me of Atterberg's Fifth. Totally different music, I know, but in both cases, the craftsman's skills recede out of sight, the strings (no pun intended) are set loose and the music stands perfectly on its own right.

As for the Fifth, it does have many dark sides, but I have always perceived it as quite hedonistic at the same time, more so, indeed, than most other Skulte symphonies. Light-hearted it is not, but rather sensuous.
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Elroel
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« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2012, 04:25:28 pm »

Many thanks to Maris for providing the 5th and 6th symphonies of Imants Kalniņö.

Interesting also that he includes the original 4th symphony, although I never heard of the fact that there is an earlier version. I'm not really surprised, because like so many composers from the Soviet period had to change their works. Alemdar Karamanov (Ukrainian) is one who had also his troubles with a rigid regime.

Thanks again,

Elroel
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« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2013, 07:55:50 pm »

The complete symphonies of Artūrs Grīnups have now been posted in the Latvian Music folder in the Downloads section of the forum.

Some words on the composer, from Latvian sources:



Artūrs Grīnups was born in Rīga, on November 2nd, 1931. He was a graduate of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian State Conservatory in contrabass and compositions, studying the latter with Ādolfs Skulte. From 1954 to 1983 he played double bass in the Latvian State Symphony Orchestra. From 1968 to 1977, he was also in the Latvian State Opera & Ballet Theatre Symphony Orchestra. He died on December 4th, 1989, in Rīga.

Unlike most other Latvian composers, Grīnups rarely composed vocal music. Most of his creative work was symphonic -- nine symphonies and a symphony for string orchestra, as well as other symphonic and instrumental chamber works. The core of his style was a transformation of late 19th century and early 20th century late romanticism, with its characteristic range of expression and impressionistic orchestral sound potential, with a deeply personal view.

The composerís creative development is in three periods. From the end of the 1950s to the early 1960s, he composed his first five symphonies, among which are many vivid works such as the Third and Fifth Symphonies. The second period, from the early 1960s until the early 1980s, he concentrated on color, in a more neo-classical aesthetic, featuring the Sixth Symphony and Sinfonia for Strings. His final period in the 1980s produced his swan song, the Ninth Symphony.

Grīnups was well known to his contemporaries for a sharp tongue and a difficult disposition. That was one reason why the composer's msuic rarely received praise during the Soviet occupation from the government and from official music critics. Also, his only effort at producing the obligatory pro-Soviet choral work, which did not receive notable publicity or praise from the government, was the song Kā Ļeņina sardzē [As In Leninís Guard], composed in 1967 for voice or choir with piano. As a consequence, very little of his music received "official" recordings on Melodiya, and none of his symphonic scores were published until long after the Soviet occupation ended.

Grīnupsí personality is well-characterized by two of his contemporaries. Pēteris Plakidis said, "He was fanatically obsessed with his plans and hopes. He was constantly torn by some inner conflict, persistently dissatisfied with himself. He attempted to curb his own volcanic temperament with strong chains of classicism. It could be said that his own self-flagellation and curbing was the perpetual state of his soul." Imants Zemzaris said, "Artūrs Grīnups had no predecessors in Latvian music, no equals, he was not in rivalries or competition. He worked alone in his own sovereign world, as if scattered in time and space."
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cjvinthechair
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« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2013, 08:05:16 pm »

Wow - a real feast today; thought I was beginning to recognise some/most Latvian composers...a million percent wrong as usual !
Have chosen something roughly midway as my 'taster', Symphony no. 5. Are there thought to be 'stand out' works, or do we just gradually work through ?

Thanks so much for the surfeit of novelties !
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Clive
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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2013, 02:53:33 am »

Many thanks from me also Smiley

To get one symphony from an unknown composer is always interesting......to get TEN in one go is fantastic Smiley Smiley
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Elroel
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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2013, 08:37:25 am »

The 6th I had tape a long time ago. I never laid my hand on the Melodiya recording. And now: all of Grinups symphonies!
Many, many thanks Maris. This is absolutely beautiful.

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cjvinthechair
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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2013, 09:13:28 am »

Well, no. 5 is terrific, so, bearing in mind I'm currently overseas & each download takes the best part of an hour, that's the rest of the day taken care of....but it'll be well worth it - eventually !
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Clive
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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2013, 01:16:10 pm »

You're all very welcome! So many of you have brought me great pleasure with the obscurities you've uploaded as well!

Grinups was indeed a fine composer. I have to admit I haven't spent as much time as I should have in familiarizing myself with his music, so I really can't answer any specific questions about his music. You all know how it is -- there's always something else out there to download, research, purchase, etc., that the listening list gets pretty long...  Wink
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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2013, 07:48:22 pm »

May I also join in the chorus of thanks for the Grinups symphonies? He's a composer I'd heard of in passing but had never really known much about. And a complete cycle, too Smiley Wonderful Smiley
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