Vasks: Voices; Musica dolorosa; Lauda; Cantabile

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LABELS: Telarc
WORKS: Voices; Musica dolorosa; Lauda; Cantabile
PERFORMER: I Fiamminghi/Rudolf Werthen
The genuine voice of independent Latvia, or second-hand Górecki or Pärt? I used to think Peteris Vasks (b1946) was the latter, but with this disc of four works, mainly for string orchestra, I have started to change my mind. The simple emotional sweep of the several times recorded Musica dolorosa (1983) now seems more than knee-jerk Baltic angst. Both Cantabile (1979) and the rather protracted Lauda (1985) offer much greater variety of both content and structure.


The composer wrote the three-movement symphony Voices in 1990-91 during Latvia’s struggle for independence. Its imaginative incorporations of birdsong, dance rhythms and avant-garde timbral techniques contribute to the feeling of direct, urgent communication by someone with something to say. Vasks certainly isn’t all Baltic gloom. Splendid performances from the excellent I Fiamminghi. Keith Potter