Tue, April 27,
Online from Riga, National Library of Latvia
Sinfonietta Rīga String Quartet (Latvia)
Kristiāna Krūskopa – violin
Agnese Kanniņa – violin
Artūrs Gailis – viola
Kārlis Klotiņš – cello
Age Veeroos (s 1973) – Caprice for solo viola (2021, esiettekanne)
Bronius Kutavičius (*1932, Lithuania) – Anno cum Tettigonia for quartet and tape (1980)
Age Veeroos (*1973) – String Quartet Whisperer (2021, premiere)
Maija Einfelde (*1939, Latvia) – String Quartet No. 3 (2009)
Anna Ķirse (*1988, Latvia) – Mundus Invisibilis for quartet and electronics (2020)
Santa Ratniece (*1977, Latvia) – Aragonite (2005)
Caprice (2021, premiere). This viola track could be a “memory game” exercise for the instrument player to find repetitive notes in different positions, timbres, dynamics and varying motifs on them. (Age Veeroos)
Anno cum tettigonia (Year with the Grasshopper) for string quartet and tape (1980) is a composition of rational craftsmanship, based upon a unique harmony (which brings to mind the scale of ancient Lithuanian skudučiai — panpipes) and a precisely ordered presentation of musical gradations. This piece, composed in canon form, is considered a classic of Lithuanian minimalism. Its texture is woven with increasing density until it reaches a culmination, whereupon it gradually grows sparse until it thins out completely. The grasshopper is the symbol for a year in Japanese mythology. The timing in this quartet is measured with accurate precision: it is comprised of 365 measures, at every seventh measure there is a slight variation in rhythm, and a recording of a bell tolling is heard twelve times.
It may be that, for the composer, a chirping grasshopper is a symbol of personal significance. In an interview with the musicologist Inga Jasinskaitė-Jankauskienė, he admitted that, in childhood, he was profoundly affected by the sound of the violin: “I was astounded, I thought it was a miracle.” In his oeuvre, the sounds of string instruments are the most beautiful and the most varied. Perhaps Kutavičius intended to compose a quartet in 365 measures, which could recur, linger, and last for eternity. (Austė Nakienė)
Whisperer (2021, premiere). With regard to the timbral opportunities of bowed instruments, I have tried to convey the uttering of sounds, muttering, whistling, whispers and groans, which all together form an incessant meaningless tittle-tattle. When composing, I listened to and analysed many timbres, more and less resonant sounds. At the same time, this composition also aims to make string instruments sing in their characteristic way. (Age Veeroos)
String Quartet No. 3 (2009). Maija Einfelde (*1939) was born in Valmiera. Her father was an organ builder, and her mother played the organ in church. She studied in Jānis Ivanovs’ composition class at the Latvian State Conservatory, which she graduated from in 1966. In 1968 she began her work in education, teaching composition and music theory.
Maija Einfelde mainly composes choral and chamber music. At the Barlow competition, she received the highest award for with her chamber oratorio Pie zemes tālās… (At the Edge of the Earth…). Along with her victory in 1997 at the international Barlow Endowment for Music Composition Competition in the United States, Maija Einfelde began to receive wide international recognition for her music. After her victory she was commissioned to write a new choral work – the 15th Psalm. Four choirs performed this work (The Brigham Young University Choir and the Kansas City Chorale in the United States, the Vancouver Chamber Choir in Canada, and the Netherlands Radio Choir), and the work was performed in Kansas City and in New York City at Carnegie Hall, with the author herself in attendance. The work Un es redzēju jaunas debesis (And I Saw a New Heaven), text from the Book of Revelations, was composed in 1998 as the result of a commission from the world-famous Hilliard Ensemble. The music of Maija Einfelde has achieved distinguished success at the UNESCO International Music Council (IMC) competition rostrum: her Concertino for four clarinets and Maija balāde (May Ballad) with lyrics by Aspazija for 8-part mixed choir are among the works of Latvian composers which Rostrum recommends to the world’s broadcasters to include in their programs. In 1997, Maija Einfelde was awarded the Latvian Great Music Award. In 1999, she was awarded the Culture Award of the Republic of Latvia, and in 2000, the Copyrights’ Infinity Award, which was awarded to her by the Latvian Authors’ Union. In 2002, the composer became an honorary member of the Academy of Science. (Maija Einfelde)
The compositional idea of the string quartet Mundus invisibilis (The Invisible World, 2020) was conceived by observing the various forms of fungal mycelium and translating the spatial image of its branched underground network into time. The nuclei of fungal cells which move freely through the whole mycelium appear in this composition as pulses or pulse structures of various types and lengths. From them, a number of audible macrostructures or bodies of sound are born that one can imagine as fungi themselves. The electronic track consists mainly of percussive impulses of damped strings and their reverberations in the piano body.
The 18th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus called the world of microorganisms invisible to the human eye, including fungi and their spores, Mundus invisibilis. Before him, Mundus invisibilis described the intangible, evasive realm inhabited by souls and spirits. In my worldview, there is a similarity and connection between the two, which I explore in this piece. It may well be that the world of spirits is interwoven and connected by threads even finer than those of the already elusive mycelium network. (Anna Ķirse)
String quartet Aragonite (2005) was created after traveling to caves in Slovakia in summer 2005. The composition was inspired by miraculous natural phenomena – aragonite crystals, found in the concealed underground cliff passages. It’s unthinkable that Nature can create something that beautiful that is hidden in the bowels of the Earth. The floral design transforms into a twig pattern and peculiar stalactite figures, called floss-ferry or iron flowers. I was taken by the immensity of thousand years long formation process of aragonite stalactites that felt timeless. Because of that, the form of composition develops as a slow, continuous movement, reflecting delicate, subtle inner changes. (Santa Ratniece)
Since its establishment in 2007, the membership of the Sinfonietta Rīga string quartet has changed repeatedly. Although the repertoire of the Sinfonietta String Quartet includes compositions from all historical periods, the ensemble is most comfortable performing modern music. Contemporary Latvian composers are essential to the quartet’s repertoire. The string quartet has collaborated with several Latvian musicians, for example with countertenor Sergejs Jēgers, percussionist Ivo Kūrskops, clarinetist Guntis Kuzma and double bass player Jānis Stafeckis. When performing compositions that require electronic sound processing, the quartet often collaborates with the artistic director of the Sinfonietta Riga orchestra, Normunds Šnē. The Sinfonietta Rīga String Quartet was nominated for the Latvian Great Music Award in 2007, in the category “The Debut of the Year”. The quartet performs not only in Riga, but all over Latvia.
The concert will be broadcasted by EMP TV and recorded by Baltic Contemporary Music Network.