Opening concert of the festival - “ONE”

18.03.2023., 17:00, Cēsis Concert Hall

Mārtiņš Circenis (clarinet)
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

conductor Guntis Kuzma

Krists Auznieks (1992)
One (premiere)
Erkki-Sven Tüür (1959)
Clarinet concerto Peregrinus Ecstaticus
Žibuoklė Martinaitytė (1973)

We will open Baltic Music Days 2023 festival with three works by outstanding contemporary composers: Erkki-Sven Tüür from Estonia, Žibuoklė Martinaitytė from Lithuania, and Krists Auznieks from Latvia. Guntis Kuzma will conduct their works with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.
Krists Auznieks is one of the brightest Latvian talents of our time, whose work and craftsmanship are further distinguished by his outstanding education and international achievements. His symphony One will be heard for the first time, commissioned by the LNSO as part of Auznieks’s role as their Composer-in-Residence this season.
It will be accompanied on the program by Erkki-Sven Tüür's clarinet concerto Peregrinus Ecstaticus, featuring one of the most virtuosic Latvian clarinettist, Mārtiņš Circenis, as the soloist. Written in 2012, Tüür's concerto Peregrinus Ecstaticus has received rave reviews which highlight its “passionately direct material” and “explosive climaxes" (BBC Music Magazine), as well as "Tüür's organic and dynamic use of texture, about which [one] could list countless examples." (Gramophone)
The music of the esteemed Estonian composer Tüür needs no further introduction and has been played all over the world with great success for decades. But it is the music of the New York-based Lithuanian composer Žibuoklė Martinaitytė that has most recently gained notoriety and widespread acclaim. Her album of orchestral music, Saudade, continues to introduce listeners to Martinaitytė's "intricately alluring sonic domain" (Gramophone). She has been praised as a “textural magician” (WQXR), her music bristling “with energy and tension” (Wire) and “an enthralling and unexpected beauty" (American Record Guide). In Cēsis the title track of the orchestral album will be performed. The piece refers to the distinct Portuguese word saudade, which means a multi-layered emotion of deep longing. A month before the Cēsis performance, Saudade will also be performed for three nights by the New York Philharmonic.
About the festival:
Since 2021 “Baltic Music Days” has been organized by the Composer Unions of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Each year the festival takes place in a different Baltic country. The first festival, organized by the Estonian Composers Union, took place online. The second festival was hosted in Kaunas, the 2022 European Capital of Culture. This year, 2023, the festival will take place from March 18-31 in Cēsis and Rīga, Latvia. Nine concerts are planned for the festival, including the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra performing at Cēsis Concert Hall, the State Chamber Orchestra “Sinfonietta Rīga” performing at the Great Guild Hall in Rīga, and the Latvian Radio Choir performing at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.
A particularly special highlight of the festival will be a performance by the world-famous percussion ensemble “Les Percussions de Strasbourg” on March 19, at Cēsis Concert Hall.
The festival as a whole will include 11 world premieres by Latvian composers.

This year, the festival’s overall theme is “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”.

We have borrowed this theme from the title of Czech/French writer Milan Kundera’s well-known novel. We came to this idea at the war’s start — a war, which unfortunately has not yet ended. A war, which has seeped into our daily lives, into our subconscious; a war, which makes us shiver in compassion and demands that we help as much as possible.
“… for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes”*
Amid the war and the empathy, life and music continue, offering opportunities for sensitivity and joy. It is unbearably heavy and light at the same time. We have asked the festival’s composers to reflect in their new compositions: is heaviness truly terrible, and lightness wonderful? Is lightness positive and heaviness negative? For the moment, it is only clear that the opposition of heaviness and lightness is the most mysterious and meaningful of all opposites.

Come and listen to it with us!

*Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” 1984.


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The festival is organized by Latvian Composers Union and supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, Baltic Contemporary Music Network, Geothe-Institut Riga, Latvian Concerts, Riga Latvian Society, Concert Hall "Cēsis", Latvian Radio 3 "Klasika", Riga Cathedral