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Thread: Pēteris Vasks

  1. #16
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    Great to see some love for Vasks on here. I sang his Pater Noster in choir about a year ago or so. I'm only familiar with his choral works, but they are fantastic pieces.

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    I've loved Vasks' Distant Light violin concerto for a while now, but hadn't seriously explored the rest of his repertoire until today.

    3 works that really stood out for me:

    Piano quartet (wow!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9NXi9O13HU
    Plainscapes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drIZ1r5DNrw
    Cello concerto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXmEMEcyxYA

    And just like that I have 3 cds ordered :0

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    Senior Member deprofundis's Avatar
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    Default Peteris vasks

    Im lisening to distant light this is so depressing in a pretty way, i have a fews by him is flute concerto excellent one of his best yet,i have the split Arvo Part and Peteris Vasks but it did not impress me that mutch. is symphony no 3 is quite nice , bold and dramatic.

    Thanks guys for introducing me to his music
    Last edited by deprofundis; Jul-24-2014 at 00:52.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I quite like Vasks' choral music...



    and his organ works:



    Pēteris Vasks was the son of a Baptist pastor and he seems at his strongest in composing works of a spiritual nature. He was prevented from studying music and composition in Latvia due to the Soviet policy toward Baptists (and other religions) so he studied at the State Conservatory in Vilnius, Lithuania. His music was championed by the violinist, Gidon Kremer.
    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

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    Senior Member Avey's Avatar
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    Recently found this at the library:

    MI0003043536.jpg

    Amazing quartet. Extraordinary compositions.

    Only found out about Vasks through the recent SQ Recommendation List. That was No. 4. These come before. And it all sounds amazing.

    Admittedly, one of the few contemporary composers that I find myself immediately attracted to, for whatever reason. Just terrifically passionate stuff.

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  10. #21
    Member Five and Dime's Avatar
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    Picked up this one today:

    Peteris Vasks: Sala / Musica appassionata / Credo

    0004545771_350.jpg


    Good stuff!

    I plan to listen to it a few more times to decide which work is my favorite, but really they're all good.

    Priekā.
    Last edited by Five and Dime; Aug-21-2016 at 00:08.

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    Question Peteris Vasks

    I recently listened to Peteris Vasks's English horn concerto for the first time. It has some beautiful sections, especially near the beginning. This caused me to listen to some more of his pieces. The horn concerto seems best of what I have heard so far. Several questions:

    Is this considered 'contemporary classical music' because it is performed by a conventional orchestra? (My grandparents would have classified it as 'popular music.')

    Is it considered melodic? I can't hear any consistent melodic development such as is characteristic of classical/romantic era composers. To my uneducated ears it sounds like lots of bits of melody stuck together rather randomly. I have been told that this is because it is much more difficult and time-consuming to write a work that has consistent melodic development throughout. Is this correct?

    Given the geographic closeness, as well as the hints of nature and perhaps his nationalistic spirit, has Vasks been influenced to any large extent by Sibelius? How would you rank Vasks as compared to Sibelius?

    Regarding personal preferences, where would you rank him among living composers? Would you be enthusiastic about attending a concert featuring Vasks's works if the tickets were standard concert ticket prices? Would you be enthusiastic about attending if it were free?
    Last edited by neofite; Jul-01-2021 at 16:30.

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    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neofite View Post
    Given the geographic closeness, as well as the hints of nature and perhaps his nationalistic spirit, has Vasks been influenced to any large extent by Sibelius? How would you rank Vasks as compared to Sibelius?
    I don't hear any direct influences myself; in terms of personal ranking: Sibelius is a top 10 composer for me. Although I love Vasks, he is not near that position.

    Regarding personal preferences, where would you rank him among living composers? Would you be enthusiastic about attending a concert featuring Vasks's works if the tickets were standard concert ticket prices? Would you be enthusiastic about attending if it were free?
    Among the top 10 living composers for me. I'd be interested in an all-Vasks concert if it were nearby (fat chance) and be willing to pay for it.

  15. #24
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    These are excellent questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by neofite View Post
    Is this considered 'contemporary classical music' because it is performed by a conventional orchestra? (My grandparents would have classified it as 'popular music.')

    Is it considered melodic? I can't hear any consistent melodic development such as is characteristic of classical/romantic era composers. To my uneducated ears it sounds like lots of bits of melody stuck together rather randomly. I have been told that this is because it is much more difficult and time-consuming to write a work that has consistent melodic development throughout. Is this correct?

    Given the geographic closeness, as well as the hints of nature and perhaps his nationalistic spirit, has Vasks been influenced to any large extent by Sibelius?
    I think there's a whole tradition of modern Baltic music deriving largely from Sibelius, and descending, by way of Rautavaara, Pärt, etc., to Vasks and most of his Baltic contemporaries. I agree that this whole tradition isn't particularly interested in "melody" in the 19th century sense; in some (not all) respects, it seems to have more akin with medieval music, or perhaps more relevantly, Eastern Orthodox music. (There may be a slight political element here: Orthodoxy was suppressed by the USSR in the same way as Baltic nationalism was.)

    I don't know much about contemporary popular music, but the little I hear (mainly the snippets played by my next door neighbors just before I rush to obliterate it with the Flying Dutchman Overture) seems to me to be going in other directions entirely from Vasks and his Baltic contemporaries. At most I might concede that their music might possibly have a very slight suggestion of 1950s popular music (e.g., Miles Davis in his Kind of Blue phase). But I'm doubtful even about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by neofite View Post
    How would you rank Vasks as compared to Sibelius?

    Regarding personal preferences, where would you rank him among living composers? Would you be enthusiastic about attending a concert featuring Vasks's works if the tickets were standard concert ticket prices? Would you be enthusiastic about attending if it were free?
    I personally don't rank composers as if they were sports teams competing for a trophy, because any attempt at that would interfere with my ability to enjoy & appreciate their music. (I'm merely describing a personal quirk of mine, not criticizing anyone else who doesn't have my problems.)

    But I would say that Vasks is among the 5 or 6 living composers whose music is played most often in our household, and whose every new composition is awaited with most interest. His style is currently changing and developing; who knows where he may yet go?

    Afterthought: I personally think it's desirable to hear the full range of Vasks's music, in order to appreciate him. His compositions to date have been relatively diverse stylistically, though all of them recognizably bear the imprint of the same vibrant personality.
    Last edited by gvn; Jul-02-2021 at 02:29.

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  17. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by neofite View Post
    To my uneducated ears it sounds like lots of bits of melody stuck together rather randomly. I have been told that this is because it is much more difficult and time-consuming to write a work that has consistent melodic development throughout. Is this correct?
    What you heard is probably an ironical comment, a bon mot. Not to be taken literally.

    Contemporary composers often have more time to compose than for example at the time of Bach and Scarlatti, when they had to take care of church music every sunday, harpsichord students, opera staging: some Italian composers in the 18th century would be moving from Florence to Venice to Rome - on a horseback? - to oversee preparations for their operas in each city...

    The idea of a composer whose main financial income comes from composing and a little teaching here and there (but no weekly church or courtly obligations) starts roughly with Beethoven. Important to that was the more overspread printing of music (industrial development and all).

    Some composers in the 1600s already would print their works and sell over the European market. Venice was an early printing hub: Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) would have 8 opus nombers. Händel (1685-1759) had 7 opus numbers, the last one was posthumous. Compare with the more than 100 opus numbers of Beethoven and Schumann. I'm mentioning here published works with opus numbers, which means a work that the composer sold to a publisher. Quite different from the vast majority of the works by Bach, Haydn and Mozart, whose sheets were shared only with their patrons, students, friends and family.

    So, getting back to Vasks. I suppose he'd have quite a lot of time for composing works in the "Theme and variations" form, if he wishes to. He won't be playing violin every saturday night for a Princess, conducting a chorus at the local cathedral every sunday morning and improvising on the organ every sunday noon. Not saying his life is easier... just different.

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