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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.
Peteris Vasks: Pater noster
Peteris Vasks: Dona nobis pacem
Dona nobis pacem
Peteris Vasks: 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.”
“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.”