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Latvian Radio Choir: The Divine Silence

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St John’s ChurchJāņa street 7, Riga, LV1050, Latvia
On Friday 15 March 2019 at 19:00

The concert programme The Divine Silence by Sigvards Kļava and the Latvian Radio choir coincides with the Christian Lent and speaks of eternal themes important for the whole humanity. Along with two deeply touching pieces by composers celebrating round birthdays this year – the most widely known modern Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian (1939) and the most visible Scottish composer of his generation James MacMillan (1959), the Riga St. John church will be filled by two emotionally charged pieces inspired Boris Pasternak’s poetry called На Страстной or Easter.

Arturs Maskats reveals: ‘Resurrection is a miracle, a force of nature and might, the human voices in That spring night and in every spring since – all of this has been briliantly dressed into words in the poems dedicated to Jesus Christ and Easter from Boris Pasternak’s novel Doctor Zhivago. I don’t know a lot of works in the world of literature where the idea of Christianity has been expressed with such awe. I was trying to approach one of these revelations if only a little bit... The piece is dedicated to Aleksandrs Antoņenko – an outstanding artist and a very profound man. I am also deeply grateful to the Latvian Radio Choir and Sigvards Kļava.’ The opus saw its premiere in the voices of these musicians seven years ago, but this time the same church vaults will be filled by the eloquent voice of a different tenor – the LNO soloist Mihails Čulpajevs.

Sigvards Kļava has also played an important role in the creation of Alfred Momotenko’s epopee for choir На Страстной. This grand opus by the Sochi-born and Moscow- and the Netherlands-schooled composer that was inspired not only by Pasternak’s powerful verses, but also Sergei Rachmaninoff’s monumental Vespers was premiered in 2017 in the world-famous Concertgebouw with the Latvian conductor at the stand overseeing the Netherlands Radio Choir.

Inspiration by a great origin literary work is also found in Tigran Mansurian’s pieces with lyrics from the poetry of his great compatriot Avetik Isahakyan that are filled with contemplation, suffering and fantastic solace. A similar theme is also found in James MacMillan’s spiritual composition Miserere with the iconic Latin text that has inspired countless works over the centuries, including ones by the Renaissance grand masters Palestrina and Gesualdo. The Armenian and the Scott both bring together in their pieces moving emotions, a splendid rhythmic language and a meditative nature, and overarching everything – the worldview of a true believer. Especially for this occasion Ēriks Ešenvalds has composed his opus Es rakstu (I write); the composer was inspired by the writings of St. Silouan the Athonite

In Juris Karlson’s catalogue, the composition Ora pro nobis dated with 19 February 2013 and its premiere in the Riga St. John church was then entrusted to the choir Kamēr and conductor Jānis Liepiņš, and now it will use the beautiful acoustics of the same church with the Latvian Radio Choir and conductor Sigvards Kļava.

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