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Peteris Vasks (b.1946)

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Vasks - Cantus ad pacem

Vasks - Cantus ad pacem


Vasks:

Viatore

Cantus ad pacem

Canto di forza

Te Deum


Talivaldis Deksni (organ)

This CD is the first to be devoted exclusively to the organ music of the Latvian composer, Peteris Vasks.With the exception of the Te Deum, recorded in St. Gertrude in Riga, all of the works were recorded on the magnificent organ of the cathedral in Riga. Talivaldis Deksnis, one of the principal organists of this venerable house of worship, since 1984, has performed all of Vasks's works for organ, many of them for the first time. Besides original compositions for organ, this CD also includes two adaptations of works for string orchestra: Viatore and Canto di forza, both dedicated to Talivaldis Deksnis, with whom Vasks has maintained a lifelong friendship.

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Vasks: Flute Concerto & Symphony No. 3

Vasks: Flute Concerto & Symphony No. 3


Vasks:

Flute Concerto

Dita Krenberga (flute)

Symphony No. 3


Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, Atvars Lakstīgala

In his early works Vasks was influenced by Bartók, Shostakovich, and the 'New Polish School', he was inspired after 1990 by the minimalism coming out of Estonia.

This Baltic-Finnish stylistic atmosphere is present in Vasks’s Third Symphony (2004-05), a commission from the Tampere Filharmonia. The orchestra’s management asked the composer for an 'introductory piece' of 15 to 20 minutes duration. His trust in the unique energy of his own inner voices gave birth to a symphonic landscape of more than 40 minutes duration, his longest and most intellectually rich orchestral work so far.

In his symphony, Vasks wanted to represent the beauty of the world God created, the destiny of humanity, and the fate of the Latvian people, as he explained. The symphony speaks 'of love and fidelity to basic principles, of loss, and of the strength to rise and move forward – and also of the endless battle between darkness and light'.

Like its predecessors, the Third Symphony is quite transparent. There are seldom more than two simultaneous sound events at any given moment, one of which is usually a static background. There is little contrapuntal activity.

Melodic gestures, atmosphere, and instrumental colour establish the work’s character. His Concerto for Flute and Orchestra is constructed symmetrically. The burlesque middle movement is framed by elegiac outer movements flowing along in serene tranquility and beauty. Passages with wind chorales and distant ringing of bells alternate with passages the mood of which ranges from meditative via lamenting to euphoric.

“Excellent performances.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2017 ****

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Vasks: Pater noster, Dona nobis pacem & Missa

Vasks: Pater noster, Dona nobis pacem & Missa


Vasks:

Pater noster

première recording

Dona nobis pacem

Missa

première recording


This release follows on the great success of two previous Ondine releases featuring the popular Latvian composer Peteris Vasks: the award-winning recording of Second Symphony and Violin Concerto Distant Light; the Third Symphony coupled with the Cello Concerto.

This new disc focuses on the religious aspect in Vasks' music and contains three sacred works for choir and orchestra. Based on Latin texts from the traditional Christian liturgy, these works include The Lord's Prayer and the ordinary of the Mass.

“…the beauty of the music is hardly disputable. Some commentators find his current style too simplistic, neo-Romantic and sentimental… but even they must acknowledge the superb performances here: clear, perfectly paced, beautifully balanced and sumptuously textured, with just the right pitch of emotion.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2007 *****

“In the booklet interview, Peteris Vasks notes that during the Soviet rule in Latvia composition of sacred choral music was heavily discouraged.
Personal necessity as well, it seems, also put him off writing the Pater noster his Protestant minister father kept asking for. Instrumental music was of greater importance.
When he did write a Pater noster (1991), it was in a simpler, more consonant style than much of his earlier work, expressively close to the 'holy minimalism' common to a number of Baltic composers, but Vasks's triadic style – which he feels essential for sacred music – shares little with them. A short, peaceful meditation, it is reverentially performed by the Latvian Radio Choir. So, too, is Dona nobis pacem (1996), inhabiting the same evocative sound world.
The Missa (2000, rev 2000-05) is a different matter. True, the expressive idiom is the same, but Vasks here invests his ideas in more musically satisfying forms. The use of string orchestral accompaniment is reminiscent in places, the Sanctus especially, of English music and sounds a touch like what an early Mass setting by Tippett might have sounded like. There are sympathetic echoes (no doubt coincidental) of Howells in the Benedictus and overlong Agnus Dei, too.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Ondine - ODE11062

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Vasks: Symphony No. 2 & Violin Concerto 'Distant Light'

Vasks: Symphony No. 2 & Violin Concerto 'Distant Light'


Vasks:

Symphony No. 2

Violin Concerto 'Distant Light'


Cannes Classical Disc of the Year Award 2004

“Peteris Vasks has been winning himself something of a cult following over the past decade.
On the evidence of this blistering premiere recording, his Second Symphony of 1998-9 seems set to repeat the popular and critical success of Voices, its hugely effective 1991 predecessor for string orchestra.
A single-movement canvas of nearly 40 minutes' duration, it traverses emotions from bare-faced rage and serene contemplation to icy despair, achieving a vast, uneasy quietude at the close ('a sense of light-filled sorrow,' in the composer's words). Stylistic echoes are plentiful: Shostakovich, Kancheli, Górecki and Pärt; folk-music, birdsong and hymnody are further ingredients in this approachable cocktail. Fortunately, Vasks's compassionate inspiration eschews any hint of New Age pretentiousness or designer chic, conveying instead a strength of conviction, unflinching honesty and profound sense of wonder that easily hold the listener in its thrall. All of which is also testament to the formidable interpretative skills of conductor John Storgårds, who secures exemplary results from the Tampere Philharmonic.
The sound is splendidly ample and detailed to match.
For the coupling, Storgårds gives a heartfelt performance of Vasks's Violin Concerto (DistantLight). Written in 1996-7 at the behest of Gidon Kremer and his then recently formed Kremerata Baltica, this is another single-movement, readily assimilable essay, though its at times enigmatically disparate elements are here perhaps less convincingly fused into a satisfying whole. Nevertheless, this enterprising release deserves every success.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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Ondine - ODE10052

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Vasks: Symphony No. 3 & Cello Concerto

Vasks: Symphony No. 3 & Cello Concerto


Vasks:

Symphony No. 3

Cello Concerto


"Splendid in every way… If you care at all about contemporary music then you will add this disc to your collection without delay." ClassicsToday.com 10/10

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Ondine - ODE10865

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Vasks: Violin Concerto, Musica dolorosa & Viatore

Vasks: Violin Concerto, Musica dolorosa & Viatore


Vasks:

Violin Concerto 'Distant Light'

Musica dolorosa

Viatore


Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Katarina Andreasson (solo violin and leader)

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BIS - BISCD1150

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Babadjanian & Vasks: Trios

Babadjanian & Vasks: Trios


Babadzhanian:

Trio for violin, cello & piano in F-sharp minor

Vasks:

Piano Trio (“Episodi e Canto perpetuo”)


Potch Trio

Delos exercises its penchant for rare and eclectic repertoire yet again with this remarkable recording of two highly appealing and emotion-laden works for piano trio by Armenian master Arno Babadjanian (1921-1983) and the legendary Latvian composer Peteris Vasks (b.1946).

Babadjanian’s Piano Trio plumbs the depths of the human psyche in music that is – by turns – full of dark menace, sweet romance, soulful reflection, searing drama and lush harmonic beauty.

Vasks’ similarly sentiment-drenched Episodi e Canto Perpetuo, in the composer’s own words, “… describes a difficult journey through the realms of distress, disappointment, and the suffering of love, which, in particular, forms the central point of the canto.”

The Potch Trio is one of South Africa’s most distinguished chamber ensembles. Their collective skill, emotional depth, interpretive intensity and glowing sound place them among the finest ensembles of their kind anywhere. The trio’s violinist, Piet Koornhof, appears in two other Delos albums with Italian flutist Raffaele Trevisani (DE3391 & 3399).

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Baltic & Beyond

Baltic & Beyond


Dvarionas:

Pezzo elegiaco

Scherzino

Elegia canzonetta

Adagio

Impromptu

Meditation

Kancheli:

Time... and again for violin and piano

Pärt:

Fratres for Violin & Piano

Vasks:

Vasaras vakara muzika [Music for a Summer Evening]


Piet Koornhof (violin), Thomas Hecht (piano)

Among the most notable regional sources of soulful and spellbinding new music have been the Baltic nations – once part of the Soviet Union – with Arvo Pärt (Estonia), Peteris Vasks (Latvia) and Balys Dvarionas (Lithuania) among the region’s most prominent composers. Works for violin and piano by all three of these Baltic voices – as well as by Giya Kancheli (from Georgia, another former Soviet republic) – are featured in this hypnotically beautiful album that celebrates, in part, the composers’ new-found freedom from a repressive Soviet regime. Distinguished South African violinist Piet Koornhof – one of Delos’s most prolific recording artists – is partnered here by the renowned American pianist Thomas Hecht in a program largely characterized (as Koornhof puts it) by “stillness and closeness to the heart,” as well as “strong meditative and spiritual overtones.”

Released or re-released in last 6 months

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Delos - DE3529

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Baltic Organ Music

Baltic Organ Music


Ciurlionis:

Fugue in C sharp minor

Chorale Fugue in A minor on Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir

Kutavicius:

Sonata Ad Patres

Pärt:

Annum per annum (K-G-C-S-A)

Süda:

Prelude and Fugue in G minor

Vasks:

Te Deum

Zemzaris:

Pastorales for Summer Flute


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BIS - BISCD561

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Bass Trip - Music for Double Bass

Bass Trip - Music for Double Bass


Hagen, L P:

Hymn

Hauta-aho:

Kadenza

Hellstenius:

Ombra della sera

Lavista:

Dusk

Ness, J Ø:

Gust

Pärt:

Spiegel im Spiegel

Ramsier:

Sahara Rainforest

Schäfer, S:

L'Adieu

Vasks:

Bass Trip for Double Bass


Dan Styffe (double bass), Gonzalo Moreno (piano), Øystein Birkeland (cello), Catherine Bullock (viola), Hans Kristian Kjos Sørensen (percussion) & Susanna Wallumrød (vocal)

Solo bass player with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Dan Styffe launches his third solo album with brand new repertoire for the instrument. Nine composers, including such well-known names as Pärt and Vasks, allow Styffe to really excel together with a handful of the foremost Norwegian musicians today.

Legendary bass-player Gary Karr writes in his introduction to the booklet: “Styffe has focused on a sonic exploration that draws out of any ordinary sound system colors and nuances one could have never imagined possible.” This autumn Styffe gives concerts and master classes in Paris, Leipzig, Trieste and Wroclaw, and during the Ultima festival in October he is premiering a concerto for double bass together with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.

The mesmerizing masterpiece Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt is of course no less than a classic, and Styffe was given the green light by the composer for a version for the double bass. The Kadenza by Teppo Hauta-Aho is among the most popular and performed works for double bass today.

Several of the pieces on Bass Trip are commissions made by Styffe, and they all explore different territories of the double bass. Jon Øivind Ness unleashes primal forces in his duo for bass and viola Gust, and Henrik Hellstenius stages a mysterious drama for bass and percussion in Ombra della sera (Evening shadows). The Hymn by Lars Petter Hagen is described as “a piece of non-existing folk music for an enormous, virtual, Hardanger fiddle.” The title track of this release is by Peteris Vasks, himself a bass player. It moves from ‘larger than life’ deep power to the utmost beauty in the melancholy little waltz at the end. In the score the composer directs that the melody can be whistled or sung by the player, but we felt that this beautiful moment called for something quite singular. With the composer’s blessing we gave the vocal part to Susanna Wallumrød, known from Susanna and the Magical Orchestra (Rune Grammofon). The result is a perfect end to an exiting and rewarding trip into new music for double bass in splendid performance.

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