Festival ISCM World Music Days travels to a different country every year. This spring will be its first time in Estonia. On 2 - 10 May, contemporary music will be heard in a number of cities across our neighbouring country. Traditionally, program of the World Music Days consists of compositions selected through a competition, which this year received submissions from over 50 countries, as well as new compositions especially commissioned for the festival. Both categories are represented in the Latvian Radio Choir’s concert program Horizon which will be performed on 6 May at the St. John’s Church in Tartu under the direction of conductor Kaspars Ādamsons.
The International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) was founded in Salzburg in 1922 with the goal of identifying the latest trends in classical music. Over time, it has expanded from a two-state union of Austria and Germany to over 50 member states and a well-structured centre for contemporary music that brings together composers, musicians un concert organisers from its member states. The ISCM’s task is to become an organisation of effective global communication with the goal of spreading contemporary music across the globe and making it accessible to wider audiences as much as possible by encouraging the exchange of information through all available means of communication. That also includes additional other activities among its member states, such as the organisation of concerts and festivals.
Latvia was granted the status of ISCM member state on 11 November 2004 in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. In 2006, Latvian representatives participated for the first time in the society’s annual general assembly in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2007, a Latvian composer’s work was included in the program of the ISCM’s festival World Music Days (which takes place every year in a different country) for the first time. Latvia is one of the few ISCM member states that can pride itself for having at least one or even several of its composers represented in this prominent festival’s program every year.
This year, interpreters of this significant forum will include the most notable Estonian musicians, as well as special guests, among those, the Latvian Radio Choir.
The concert’s title Horizon has been borrowed from an opus composed by Rosalind Page, currently residing in Australia, who was inspired by the works of the Sydney-based Latvian-Australian artist Imants Tillers. In his art, Imants places an important role on images and symbols connected to Latvia… The opus’ premiere took place in Riga last year, performed by the Latvian Radio Choir, which is equally well-acquainted with the music of many other composers included in this program.
Estonian audience will also hear a fragment of Alfred Momotenko’s epopee for a choir На Страстной, which was introduced to the Latvian audience at a concert in St. John’s Church in Riga in the middle March. A. Momotenko, born in Sochi and educated in Moscow and the Netherlands, has based this monumental opus on the powerful poetry of Boris Pasternak and on Sergei Rachmaninov’s exceptional All-Night Vigil.
Jug Marković composed the emotionally powerful and moving Nirvana for the Latvian Radio Choir in the framework of TENSO master-classes. The young Serbian composer has wrapped in music the verses of a fellow-Serbian, symbolist Vladislav Petković Dis (written in the beginning of the 20th century) that speak of war, death and transcendence.
The choir will also perform once again the music of Mārtiņš Viļums. The choir’s unique sound and the boundless capacities of its singers’ vocals have been a powerful inspiration for a number of exceptional opuses of this Vilnius-based Latvian composer. Those include Abar panjom ardīg abāg gāw ēk-dād kard (‘On the fifth fight of the firstborn bull’) composed in 2010 and based on the eighth chapter of the Bundahishn cosmological texts in Pahlavi (an ancient Persian dialect) on the creation of the world and life from a firstborn bull.
Years of fruitful cooperation also unite the Latvian Radio Choir and Andris Dzenītis, whose opus Aerodynamics will see its Tartu premiere as part of the Horizon concert program. The composition is based on a poem of the same title by American Rick Bursky, who speaks of longing, intimacy and subtle fragility in a visually powerful language...
The Latvian Radio Choir’s concert in Tartu will take place at 17:30 on 6 May 2019 at the St. John’s Church in Tartu.