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The button

First line:
Like a cherry tree
2017; SSSA soli, SSAATTBB, SAT saxophones, organ and percussion
author of text
translator of text

The button is based on poetry describing the inconceivably difficult life circumstances experienced by Knuts Skujenieks, who, in my view, is one of Latvia’s most illustrious poets and thinkers. In 1962 Skujenieks was convicted of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, and was sentenced to seven years in a strict-regime Mordovian concentration camp. His only keepsake from the land of his birth was the shirt on his back and the button his wife had sewn onto it. When all hope seemed lost Skujenieks wrote The button.

The poet said thus: ‘This was a tribute to my wife. However, when I later read this poem in Stockholm, Paris, Kraków and elsewhere, the audience made me realize that it does not just belong to the two of us.’ Skujenieks returned to his wife after his years in prison, and they are still together.

This poem affected me so deeply that, even after composing The button, I met with him several more times. I have only the deepest regard for his strong, unbreakable spirit and courageous personality.

from notes by Jēkabs Jančevskis © 2020


Jančevskis: Aeternum & other choral works
Studio Master: CDA68328Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 8 on CDA68328 [8'47]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68328 track 8

Recording date
7 December 2018
Recording venue
Riga Recording Company A Studio, Latvia
Recording producer
Jurģis Cābulis & Jēkabs Jančevskis
Recording engineer
Normunds Slava
Hyperion usage
  1. Jančevskis: Aeternum & other choral works (CDA68328)
    Disc 1 Track 8
    Release date: March 2020
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