Latvian Winterfest: Cantatas for the Christmas Season
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A disc of glorious music by Latvian composers appropriate for the Christmas season.

Music has been a strong political, unifying force for the Latvian people. It rose slowly, out of folk songs, during the 700 years of oppression by Russian tsars and German overlords. Poetry and song, with their indirect and symbolic undertones, became an inside language — a way of passing on messages, revisiting legendary heroes and building confidence. Latvian composers have fused their folklore with contemporary trends and this recording is an example of this fusion. Cantatas for the Christmas season by three of Latvia’s most well-known composers are offered. Sung by the New York Latvian Concert Choir with the Latvian National Opera Chamber Orchestra conducted by Andrejs Jansons, the recording was made in Latvia in February, 2012. The New York Latvian Concert Choir was founded in 1975. Since the break up of the Soviet Union and the re-establishment of Latvia’s independence, the choir has regularly collaborated with choirs and soloists in Latvia. Its mission has been to keep alive and promote Latvian music within the Latvian communities of the U.S., Canada, Australia and elsewhere and to introduce these countries to Latvia’s ongoing cultural heritage.
Contents:
Eriks Esenvalds, composer
Christmas Eve
Laila Liepina Southard, soprano, Sarma Dindzane-Van Sant, alto, RLB Chamber Choir Astrums, Youth Choir Balsis, New York Latvian Concert Choir, Latvian National Opera Chamber Orchestra, Andrejs Jansons, conductor

Valts Puce, composer
Christmas Cantata
Sarma Dindzane-Van Sant, alto, RLB Chamber Choir Astrums, Youth Choir Balsis, New York Latvian Concert Choir, Latvian National Opera Chamber Orchestra, Andrejs Jansons, conductor

Aldonis Kalnins, composer
Winter Solstice Mystery
Laura Padega Zamura, mezzo-soprano, Aija Jamura, soprano, Krista Zamura, soprano, Baiba Kaulina-Pakaine, soprano, Irita Tace, soprano, RLB Chamber Choir Astrums, Youth Choir Balsis, New York Latvian Concert Choir, Latvian National Opera Chamber Orchestra, Andrejs Jansons, conductor

Review:
“The singing is bright, enthusiastic, and very much attuned to the folkloric dimensions of the music. The choir performs handsomely with breezy, unassuming solo voices convey-ing the innocence and joy of everything they’re singing about.” (American Record Guide)
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