PETERIS VASKS (b.1946): Sala - Symphonic Elegy for Orchestra, Credo for Orchestra, Musica Appassionata for String Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 09R011
Reference: WER 7323 2
Description: Vasks stands somewhat apart from the orthodoxy of 'new spirituality', especially in more recent works, by avoiding the preponderance of consoling consonant diatonicism that can become cloying in the wrong hands. Forged in the deprivations and afflictions of the Latvian people in the twentieth century and fuelled by his continuing concern about the contemporary world's violence toward ourselves and our environment, his works amply admit a very Romantic degree of dramatic conflict, as in the hugely impressive large tone-poem Sala (Island). This island could be a tranquil refuge full of Sibelian nature-music, as suggested by the serene opening and closing of the piece - but it could also be a hostile place of exile from the brutal regime apparently depicted in the Shostakovich-like central climax. Musica appassionata is exactly what the title suggests, beginning in media res with a turbulent opening 'scene', which gives way to an episode of calm contemplation. The music takes on a threatening aspect, the language becomes increasingly chromatic, then after a confrontational climax the mood turns more positive and the work ends with a prayerful meditation. Credo begins with a prayer in the solo voice of a single clarinet that accumulates orchestral texture and crescendoes to an exultant climax. The second half of the work is an imposing and triumphant hymn, which gives way to a peaceful epilogue of radiant calm. Liepaja Symphony Orchestra; Atvars Lakstigala.