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.
The choir of 24 singers is renowned, particularly for its interpretations of music from the past hundred years. Conductor Sigvards Klava deftly led them through their signature repertory, as well as recent pieces by Latvian composers Peteris Vasks and Eriks Esenvalds.
“Our Mother’s Names,” by Vasks, brimmed with yearning glissando chords, straining upward and downward until the piece dissolved in a fervor of avian whirs and whistles — and not a musical instrument in sight.
By Charles T. Downey