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Hyperion Records

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About 2500 Tigers (2008) by Charlie Baird (b1955)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67747
Recording details: August 2008
Ely Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 12 minutes 34 seconds

'A fascinating collection of choral works … centring on a Mass setting by Latvian Uģis Prauliņš … probably the single most impressive moment in the work is the end of the Credo, whose increasing waves of spoken affirmation of faith are haloed by bell-like choral roulades … Einfelde's music is altogether more introverted, darker than that of Prauliņš but beautifully crafted and jewel-like … [Angelis suis Dominis and Pater noster by Miškinis] are works of absolutely luminous beauty' (Gramophone)

'The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge enjoys the urgent heartbeat of this music … Missa Rigensis contains many wonders, including a buoyant Gloria which vanishes magically into the long acoustic perspectives of the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, where this disc was most sensitively produced and engineered  … Stephen Layton conducts this music with all the rigour, colour and craft characteristic of his work' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Layton conducts vital and immaculate performances. These works must be quite taxing and they’re not always as simple or as straightforward as they may sound. The singing is a pure joy from first to last. The recording lends an appropriately reverberant aura to the music. This splendid release perfectly complements Hyperion’s disc devoted to Dubra’s choral music, enthusiastically reviewed here a few months ago (Hail, Queen of Heaven). This disc will appeal strongly to all lovers of imaginative choral music, but others—I am sure—will find much to relish' (MusicWeb International)

'Soaring melodies, folklike tunes, drones with religious gravity, and stylized speech are all encompassed by these works, the biggest among them being Uģis Prauliņš' Missa Rigensis—one of the most original and personal settings of the Mass text imaginable. Best of all, this is a disc to live with: There's much to enjoy on first hearing, but all the pieces have dramatic new revelations on subsequent encounters' (The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA)

Cikls ar Frica Bardas dzeju 'A cycle of Fricis Barda poems'
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Latvian Maija Einfelde has a somewhat pessimistic world-view: ‘Life is not that beautiful, that I would be able to write beautiful music.’ Yet her music is beautiful, in its dark luminosity and austere concentration; it often bears a sorrowful countenance, but speaks of a great and compelling humanity.

The daughter of an organ-builder and an organist, Einfelde was born in Valmiera, near the Estonian border, where she felt the horrors of the Soviet occupation particularly deeply. Always something of an outsider in Latvian music she has patiently and painstakingly gone her own way, finally gaining international recognition in 1997 when she won the Barlow Endowment for Music competition for her Aeschylus cantata Pie zemes talas … (‘At the Edge of the Earth…’).

Written in 2003 Cikls ar Frica Bardas dzeju (‘A cycle of Fricis Barda poems’) comprises three settings of one of Latvia’s best-loved writers. Barda, who died in 1919 at the age of thirty-nine, was one of a group of poets who turned their back on realism in favour of a higher synthesis of romanticism and naturalism. Einfelde responds to these pantheistic miniatures with music of quiet integrity and intensity, the shifting modal harmony flecked with chromaticism, the choral textures immaculately sifted and weighed. Here there is no obvious word-illustration, no overt drama, for like the Latvian landscape this is music painted in ‘grey, green, brown and the colour of the sun’.

from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2010

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