String Quartets nos. 1-3
1CD | Challenge Classics | 0608917236521 | CC 72365 | 09-10
Xander Van Vliet: violin
Marije Ploemacher: violin
Simone van der Giessen: viola
Nathaniel Boyd: violoncello
"His music is the product of a country that for years struggled under the yoke of the Soviet regime.“How can a composer create in such surroundings?” Vasks often wondered. “How does he survive in such a chronically dire situation?” His answer seems simple: “By suffering in sympathy with the suffering of the entire world. For me, this is the only solution. Suffering is not a game or a fantasy to me. I sit in the midst of it; my family sits in the midst of it; my people. I feel the heartbeat of suffering. That is for me the source of our power.” And the source of his music, as well, for in his scores, Vasks is a somber pessimist with a glowing edge of never-flagging hope. He agitates in his work against the situation in his country. “When I think about modern life, it is impossible to not realize that we are balancing on the edge of the end of time.” They are heavy themes that motivate
Vasks’ music – in his string quartets, too. In his first three string quartets –
he has written five – the transformation is clearly perceptible from the direct
sources of his inspiration to an abstraction of his worry and suffering.
In every movement of the First String Quartet, written in 1977 and revised
in 1997, sings the formerly gagged voice of an oppressed Latvian.
The Second String Quartet, from 1984, bears the title Vasaras dziedajumi
(Summer Tunes) and is a reflection of Vasks’ love for nature, especially
In his Third String Quartet, from 1995, Vasks not only transformed his string quartet writing to a coherent style that reserves an important role for the harmonic overtone series, he also attained a level of abstraction that presents suffering, nature and birds, but in a highly stylized form.
Although this Third Quartet is more abstract, the most important symbols
of Vasks’ work still figure prominently: the aleatoric passages representing
chaos, the birdsong (birds represent ultimate freedom for Vasks), the folk
music that underscores a Latvian identity, and the lovely cantilenas that
represent both a soothing somberness and consoling hope. “I see it as my
duty to bring light into the lives of my people, a people who have suffered
so much and despite their regained independence are still far removed from actual freedom.” - (parts of the linernotes with this cd by Paul Janssen )
Die Mitglieder des Navarra Quartet - 2002 am Royal Northern College of Music in Großbritannien gegründet - sind Schüler des Alban Berg Quartetts. P?teris Vasks' erste drei Streichquartette werden in ihrer hoch emotionalen Interpretation zu einer berührenden Abstraktion von Sorge und Leid.
1String Quartet no. 3Moderato06:13
2String Quartet no. 3Allegro Energico05:22
3String Quartet no. 3Adagio09:01
4String Quartet no. 3Moderato-Allegro-Andante-Moderato07:39
5String Quartet no. 2 'Summer Tunes'Coming Into Bloom07:27
6String Quartet no. 2 'Summer Tunes'Birds09:04
7String Quartet no. 2 'Summer Tunes'Elegy09:44
8String Quartet no. 1Intrada: Moderato04:01
9String Quartet no. 1Sonata: Allegro06:28
10String Quartet no. 1Melodia: Tranquillo07:26