Latvian National Opera répétiteur Ērika Millere has created a vibrantly colourful chain of art songs by Latvian composers, some of them very well-known but the majority ‒ either forgotten or at least long-unperformed.
The programme is centred around the patriarch of Latvian music Jāzeps Vītols and two of this year’s prominent centenarians, both ‒ Vītols’ students and both ‒ musically complete opposites of their teacher: Tālivaldis Ķeniņš and his like-minded friend Alberts Jērums.
Latvian exile composers are also represented in the programme by the exquisitely intricate Romanticists Ādolfs Ābele and Helmers Pavasars; the silent loners Haralds Berino and Eduards Šēnfelds; the tender of traditional folk music roots Volfgangs Dārziņš, son of Emīls; Longins Apkalns, famous for his harsh judgements of colleagues; the sound-painter from New York Arnolds Šturms. Of the younger Latvian expatriates, the programme will feature the USA-born Imants Mežaraups, a brilliant modernist in his early years, who spent a significant part of his life in the newly free Latvia after the restoration of independence.
We are going to hear five fine opera voices that have also been known to thrive in a more chamber-like atmosphere: the graceful soprano Laura Teivāne; the owner of a beautiful timbre and a brilliant feel for the stage Ieva Parša; the spring-spirited lyrist Juris Vizbulis; Rihards Millers, coming into his own fast and demonstrating a diversity of sound-colour, and the grand master of text articulation Krišjānis Norvelis.