Hyperion Records

Concerto for violin and string orchestra 'Distant Light'
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One of the prevailing characteristics of Vasks’ music is its sheer beauty of sound, and his Violin Concerto Distant Light (Tala gaisma in Vasks’ original Latvian), composed in 1996–7 at the request of Gidon Kremer, observes the basic topos of many other Vasks works in its suggestion that music can relieve suffering and assuage grief. When he read Kremer’s book Childhood Fragments he realized they had gone to the same school: ‘But we have only really met now in music. Distant Light is nostalgia with a touch of tragedy. Childhood memories, but also the glittering stars millions of light years away.’

The opening of Distant Light, which is built in a single span of music, places Vasks stylistically exactly where his geographical origins are – between Pärt and Lutoslawski. The violin line slowly opens out over a gentle bed of growingly confident string tone, part diatony, part cluster. The strings disappear behind the first of three cadenzas, the basses then taking up a beautiful lament as the soloist soars ecstatically above. A bright-eyed, folk-like dance episode introduces a change of mood and tempo but is abruptly silenced by the second cadenza – which itself snaps to a close as the basses begin another poignant elegy. The third cadenza, with some deliberately ugly sounds, unleashes what one commentator has called ‘aleatory chaos’ before a rather ill-bred waltz stamps it into submission and an extended coda revisits some of the earlier material and lays the music to gentle rest.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2005

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Details for CDA67496 track 7
Cantabile
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-05-49607
Duration
3'34
Recording date
9 December 2004
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Vasks & Weill: Violin Concertos (CDA67496)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: October 2005
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