This weekend, the Latvian Radio Choir and its artistic director Sigvards Kļava will perform in Switzerland and Germany. The choir has been invited to perform at the Solsberg festival on 15 June, and it will be at the Klangvokal music festival in Germany the following day.
The choir’s concert program includes opuses by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler, Arvo Pärt and Ēriks Ešenvalds and will take place at the St. Martin’s church in Rheinfelden and St. Reinold’s church in Dortmund.
Arvo Pärt is one of those rare contemporary composers whose name has already become a modern classic. Stylistically associated with such trends as ‘the new simplicity’, ‘the new spirituality’ and ‘the new ascetics’, this world-renowned Estonian composer speaks a language of sound that communicates transcendental peace and naked simplicity, transparency and a purifying silence. They are also manifested in his composition for a choir Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen based on the seven antiphons of the Old Testament that were chanted in Catholic liturgy seven days before Christmas, each highlighting a different prophecy about Jesus Christ.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s impressive composition Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom also has its roots in liturgical music. Even though this master of Romanticism is usually associated with emotionally tense symphonies, impressive stage work and refined choir music, his creative work includes religious compositions, as well. The score of 1878 is one of the most celebrated examples of this genre. This monumental Russian opus refers to the divine liturgy of the legendary Archbishop of Constantinople John Chrysostom (~349-407), one of the fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
A Drop in the Ocean composed by Ēriks Ešenvalds, a proficient in the choir music and considered to be the most played Latvian composer, is based on scriptures of Saints, as well. The aforementioned score of 2006 refers to the verses of St. Francis of Assisi, the prayer Our Father, the chants of the sisters of the Calcutta Missionaries of Charity and the words of Mother Teresa: “[...] what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
Alongside these remarkable compositions grounded in faith, the Latvian Radio Choir’s concert program will also include the heartbreaking Adagietto from the Symphony No. 5 by the master of late Romanticism Gustav Mahler. This Austrian genius’ world-famous masterpiece has been adapted for choir by French composer Gérard Pesson.