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Peteris Vasks

Composer

Peteris Vasks

Peteris Vasks was born on 16 April 1946 in Aizpute in Latvia as the son of a Baptist pastor who was well-known in Latvia. Vasks began his musical education at the local music school in Aizpute. He subsequently produced his first compositions and also studied the double bass at the Emils Darzins Music School in Riga (1959-64). Vasks continued his double bass studies with Vytautas Sereika at the Lithuanian Conservatory in Vilnius up to 1970 before his one year of military service in the Soviet Army. Vasks orchestral career had already began as early as 1961 as a member of various symphony and chamber orchestras, including the Latvian Philharmonic Orchestra (1966 to 1969), Lithuanian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra (1969 to 1970) and the Latvian Radio and Television Orchestra (1971 to 1974).

From 1973 to 1978, Vasks additionally studied composition with Valentin Utkin at the Latvian Music Academy in Riga. During the following years, he was a music teacher in Salacgriva, Zvejniekciems und Jelgava and has taught composition at the Emils Darzins Musikschule in Riga since 1989. During the Soviet period, Vasks suffered under the repressions of Russian cultural doctrine due to his beliefs and artistic convictions, but the Latvian composer's works have swiftly achieved widespread recognition during the past few years. Choral music of major importance within Vasks Oevre. His instrumental works are performed around the world by renowned musicians and frequently used by choreographers.

Vasks compositions incorporate archaic, folklore elements from Latvian music and place them within a dynamic and challenging relationship with the language of contemporary music. The works are frequently given programmatic titles based on natural processes. Vasks' intentions are however not so much a purely poetic praise of nature or showy tone painting, but rather the pursuit of themes such as the complex interaction between man and nature and the beauty of life on the one hand but also the imminent ecological and moral destruction of the world which he expresses in musical language.

Discography (See list of Compositions.)

Displaying 1-6 of 6 items.


Latvian Radio Choir : Peteris Vasks - Pater Noster

Review: Peteris Vasks (1946), Latvia's most prominent composer, was the son of a Baptist minister, and while he always felt a strong affinity for sacred music, he didn't feel free to express it through vocal music since it would never have been allowed to be performed under the Communist regime. Since the early '90s, he has turned his attention more and more to religious texts, and this CD includes three of his most significant sacred choral works, including a setting of the Mass. Vasks' style of choral writing links him to the composers who have come to be described as "holy minimalists," a group that includes Part, Gorecki, Kancheli, and Tavener, whose music, while stylistically diverse, tends to rely on tonal and modal harmonies, is frequently harmonically static or slow-moving and is often linked to plainchant and ancient liturgical traditions. Vasks' choral music is firmly rooted in Western polyphony and is for the most part traditional-sounding; there is little in it apart from certain unconventional harmonic progressions that would make it immediately identifiable as a product of the late twentieth century. Among the other holy minimalists, the sound of his music is most closely related to that of Gorecki in its harmonic textures and the somber earnestness of its moods. The three works recorded here are polyphonically and harmonically sensual, in spite of their serious tone. An exception to the sober tone is the Mass' Sanctus, which, while not exactly lighthearted, is lively; the composer imagines it "sung by happy, little angels." The Latvian Radio Choir sings with warmth and passion and with excellent control in the composer's extended, sustained vocal lines. Sigvards Klava, conducting Sinfonietta Riga, leads them in deeply felt performances. The CD should be of interest both to fans of choral music and of new trends in minimalism tinged with Romanticism.

Songlist:

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8684c | 00 1 CD | $16.95 | Primarily a cappellaLatvian Choral Music


Latvian Radio Choir : Peteris Vasks: Mate Saule

Review: Peteris Vasks' songs for mixed choir, like all of his compositions, provide a look at events, a portrait of the times. Quality, not quantity, is the keyword. This recording contains those compositions which the composer feels to be his best contributions to a genre which he has approached relatively sparingly.

Songlist:

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7837c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A CappellaLatvian Choral Music


Peteris Vasks : Carnival Song

Review: Vasks compositions incorporate archaic, folklore elements from Latvian music and place them within a dynamic and challenging relationship with the language of contemporary music. The works are frequently given programmatic titles based on natural processes. Vasks' intentions are however not so much a purely poetic praise of nature or showy tone painting, but rather the pursuit of themes such as the complex interaction between man and nature and the beauty of life on the one hand but also the imminent ecological and moral destruction of the world which he expresses in musical language.

Songlist:

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8767b | 01 Songbook | $9.95 | SSSSAAAA | A CappellaArrangements for 8 Parts


Peteris Vasks : Home (Dzimtene)

Review: Peteris Vasks' strong attachment to his Latvian home country shows particularly in his choral music. Nature, customs and traditions as well as the idea of freedom are the central themes of the texts he sets to music, while carefully using modern techniques of choral singing as well. Alternating with traditional, even archaic singing, the music creates a multi-faceted, immediately effective sound image in the listener's mind

Songlist:

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7377b | 01 Songbook | $9.95 | SSAA | A CappellaNorthern European Choral Arrangements


Peteris Vasks : Mother Sun

Review: Central to Vask's work are human beings and nature. The beauty of nature versus the threat of it, and the human role in it. His human and cultural image is therefore not very optimistic. However, in his work Vasks expresswes wonder and beauty. Especially in his early compositions. The choral work Mate Saule (Mother Sun) from 1975 is one such work. It seems nothing but an evocation of a sun with sparse melodies that break away from the sound as halos and sun breaking through the clouds. Meanwhile, this work is also a piece that is exemplary for the later choral works of Vasks. Although the piece is almost entirely diatonic, drop the instrumental notation for the votes and nice dissonant textures right on. These are things that Vasks in his later work refined and enriched.

Songlist:

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8771b | 01 Songbook | $6.95 | SSAATTBB | A CappellaArrangements for 8 Parts


Peteris Vasks : Sorrow - Three Songs For Female Choir

Review: Peteris Vasks' strong attachment to his Latvian home country shows particularly in his choral music. Nature, customs and traditions as well as the idea of freedom are the central themes of the texts he sets to music, while carefully using modern techniques of choral singing as well. Alternating with traditional, even archaic singing, the music creates a multi-faceted, immediately effective sound image in the listener's mind. These six songs for female choir centre on the themes of man, nature and transience, and home in aphoristic brevity. Vasks wrote music on these folk poems which contains rewarding tasks for the choir and opens up a fascinating world of sound to the listener.

Songlist:

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7341b | 01 Songbook | $9.95 | SSAA | A CappellaNorthern European Choral Arrangements

Compositions ( See Discography.)

Displaying 1-24 of 24 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistRecording TitleFormat
Carnival SongPeteris VasksPeteris VasksCarnival SongSongbookMORE DETAILS
Dona Nobis PacemPeteris Vasks Latvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks - Pater Noster 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Dona nobis pacemPeteris VasksLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Dona nobis pacem (Peteris Vasks)Peteris VasksEstonian Philharmonic Chamber ChoirBaltic Voices 1 CDMORE DETAILS
EncounterPeteris Vasks / Czeslaw MiloszLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
IPeteris Vasks / Uldis BerzinsLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
IIPeteris Vasks / Uldis BerzinsLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Litene# (Ballad for 12-voiced chorus to a text by Uldis Berzins )Peteris Vasks / Uldis BerzinsLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Madrigals (Madrigal)#Peteris Vasks / Claude de PontouxLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Maminai Klausidama (Following Mother's Advice)Peteris VasksPeteris VasksHome (Dzimtene)SongbookMORE DETAILS
Mate Saule (Mother Sun)Peteris Vasks / Janis PetersLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Miedzins Jaja (Sleep Was Riding)Peteris VasksPeteris VasksHome (Dzimtene)SongbookMORE DETAILS
MissaPeteris Vasks Latvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks - Pater Noster 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Mother SunPeteris VasksPeteris VasksMother SunSongbookMORE DETAILS
Musu Dziesma (Our Song)Peteris VasksPeteris VasksHome (Dzimtene)SongbookMORE DETAILS
Pater nosterPeteris Vasks Latvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks - Pater Noster 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Small, Warm HolidayPeteris VasksPeteris VasksSorrow - Three Songs For Female ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS
So LittlePeteris Vasks / Czeslaw MiloszLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
SunmmerPeteris VasksPeteris VasksSorrow - Three Songs For Female ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS
The Sad MotherPeteris VasksPeteris VasksSorrow - Three Songs For Female ChoirSongbookMORE DETAILS
Three Poems By Czeslaw MiloszPeteris Vasks / Czeslaw MiloszLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
WindowPeteris Vasks / Czeslaw MiloszLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Zemgale Peteris Vasks / Mara ZaliteLatvian Radio ChoirPeteris Vasks: Mate Saule 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Ziles zinaPeteris VasksLatvian Radio ChoirGlorious Hill 1 CDMORE DETAILS

Composers