The interwiev with Sigvards Klava

Maestro Klava, how did you become aware of Komitas' "Divine Liturgy", and how did the CD recording of the work with the Latvian Radio Choir you conducted finally come about?

The invitation to create, perform and record a mixed-choir version of Komitas’ Liturgy came from the Ambassador of Armenia to the Republic of Latvia, Tigran Mkrtchyan. We had already performed some of Komitas’ music, and it was a time when the sacred music enthusiasts and other music lovers were awaiting the composer’s approaching 150th birthday celebration.

James Manheim in AllMusic leaves an excellent review about Komitas Divine Liturgy

The Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš has immediately accepted the invitation by the Swedish Radio Choir to be their Chief Conductor. In his eyes, it is a dream job.

The Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš is to become the Chief Conductor of the Swedish Radio Choir, as revealed in an official announcement by the stellar collective.

Singers and instrumentalists are equal partners throughout Adoratio, the 33-minute symphony for choir and orchestra that is the centrepiece of this recording. Sombre, dramatic and haunting, it is a ‘prayer story … about the false paths taken by men and nations and their requests for God’s help’, based on sacred texts – the litany, Psalm 22 and Chronicles II. Juris Karlsons trained as a sound engineer with Latvian Radio, which clearly contributed to his skill as a composer. These accomplished forces deliver a searing performance of a very powerful work.

By David Karlin, 16 March 2019

All the Baltic states have strong choral traditions, and before I entered St John’s Church in Riga, I was well aware that the Latvian Radio Choir are one of the very best. I was also well aware of the fine qualities of composers such as Tigran Mansurian and James MacMillan. But seeing these 24 singers unaccompanied at close quarters for the first time, I honestly found myself unprepared for the experience.

Although the Performance Art movement has been around for decades, it is still news when it comes to town. The idea of a heady mix of diverse arts-plastic, visual, musical, theatrical-has always been with us, but usually they are blended in such a way as to present a homogeneous whole.

Performance artists, on the other hand, prefer breaking the spectacle into discreet units, so that the audience is aware of the separateness of each contribution. This can dilute any intended effect, but it can liberate the mind of the viewer/listener in wonderful ways.

For anyone who likes the idea of 24 men and women using their voices to go beyond song, a Saturday-evening concert by the Latvian Radio Choir would have been a special treat.

Hosted by adventurous Toronto concert presenter Soundstreams at a packed Metropolitan United Church, the Baltic singers showed off remarkable technique, polish and balance under their longtime conductor, Sigvards Klava.

Latvia basked in the spotlight Friday evening with a concert by one of its leading musical groups at the Library of Congress. The Latvian Radio Choir marked the centenary of Latvia’s independence with a powerful program of unaccompanied gems. Andris Teikmanis, the Latvian ambassador to the United States, spoke proudly of his country, small in size but “a great musical power in the world” nevertheless.

“IF you think opera is antiquated art form in which tragic heroines take an eternity to die, then you need to see War Sum Up. 

This extraordinary production from Denmark-based company Hotel Pro Forma is an example of how opera is being redefined, leaving old-fashioned opera companies struggling to keep up. The concept may seem unlikely - a Danish production sung in Japanese by a Latvian Choir - but War Sum Up transcends cultural boundaries in its contemplation of the devastating effects of war.

"One could hardly ask for better performers in this repertoire than the Latvian Radio Choir under the inspired direction of Sigvards Kļava, and Ondine’s recording, made in St John’s Church in Riga, is a model of clarity. A superb release."

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