JURIS KARLSONS (b.1948): Adoratio for Chorus and Orchestra (Sinfonietta Riga), for Chorus: Oremus…, Le lagrime dell’anima, Ora pro nobis.
Catalogue Number: 11V059
Reference: ODE 1342-2
Description: Another major figure in the remarkable modern Latvian choral tradition. Karlson's music is innovative but approachable, broadly tonal, and in his recent works exhilarating in its celebration of spiritual revelations. The main work here is the hugely impressive choral symphony Adoratio, of 2010. The opening of the symphony builds up in waves, beginning with bells, then increasing orchestral texture, then the choir surging and gaining in massiveness and complexity until the section culminates in a grand, glowing chord. The following section introduces prayers of praise and adoration that appear in the Litany of the Saints and elsewhere in the liturgy, as sung on Good Friday. This section is punctuated by climactic exhortations to the Almighty among supplications for mercy and peace. The colossal climax of the work is a despairing cry from Psalm 21 and its terrifying, tumultuous aftermath. God's admonition to his people from the second Book of Chronicles, thundering from orchestral storm clouds, forms the symphony’s monumental finale. A peaceful coda represents the reconciliation of Easter morning. The shorter works demonstrate the breadth and originality of the composer’s style. Oremus sets text from the Second Vatican Council's 'Dei verbum'. It opens with rhythmic chanting, slightly reminiscent of Carl Orff but to very different effect. The second half of the piece is slow and prayerful, beautifully and gracefully shifting in layers in and out of consonance. 'Tears of the Soul' to the composer’s own text, begins with a sequence of notes described by Karlsons as being like the stars slowly appearing at dusk. The choir joins in dialogue with the piano, gradually forming a rich, glowing stream of melody which slowly becomes an increasingly dense web of polyphony, followed by a statement of the text with crystalline clarity, accompanied by bells. The stars shine out again, one by one, and the choir and piano join forces in a gently luminous coda. Ora pro nobis, a hymn to the Virgin Mary, opens with a section with a lively, jubilant pulsating rhythm, its melody suggesting late medieval polyphonic chant. The Ave Maria is reverently chanted, and blossoms into consonant chordal textures at the end. Texts and translations included.