In the second half of October, the Latvian Radio Choir will head out on a tour of China where in a series of concerts they will introduce the audience with the music of Baltic and Nordic composers. The programmes The Nordic Sound and The Traditional Music of the Baltics have put a great emphasis on the works of Latvian composers, represented by such great classics as Jānis Cimze, Alfrēds Kalniņš, and Emilis Melngailis and their vibrant traditional folk song arrangements, as well as pieces by modern authors. Among these pieces is Zīles Ziņa (Tom Tit’s Message) by Pēteris Vasks, written almost four decades ago, as well as the Juris Ābols’ legendary Dadaistic and performatively expressive masterpiece Karavāna (Caravan). Alongside these, Ēriks Ešenvalds calmer and more emotional opuses have been added – the Inuit-inspired Pirmās Asaras (The First Tears), and Zvaigznes (Stars) with lyrics by the American poet Sarah Teasdale, as well as Rihards Zaļupe’s new composition Ritmiskā Vokalīze (Rhythmic Vocalise), and Vilnis Šmīdbergs’ energetic miniature Pērkona tēvam deviņi dēli (The Father Thunder had Nine Sons)
Hand-picked by the conductor Sigvards Kļava, the pieces by the original Estonian sonic master Veljo Tormis are also strongly folk-inspired, including the fantastic Latvian Bourdon Songs; so is the Lithuanian Vytautas Miškinis’ Rotāšana and the Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s Pseudo-Yoik that offers a humour-filled look on the musical traditions of Lapland. Alongside the Swedish contemporary music superstar Anders Hillborg’s fascinating early 80s piece muo:aa:yiy::oum that has been recognised as a minimalist classic, the Danish composer Per Nørgård’s unusual piece Lullaby will also be performed; the Nordics will also be represented by the 20th century Norwegian classic Knut Nystedt’s Immortal Bach, reflecting on a carol by the Baroque grandmaster.