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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Gariga Muzika Doma Baznica
Ugis PRAULINS (b.1954)

Missa Rigensis (2002)
Epigrams (2002)
Zvani - Interlude (2002)
Magnificat (2002)
Riga Dom Cathedral Boys’ Choir/Martins Klisans
Rec. Riga Dom Cathedral, Riga, Latvia, 2002
IMANTA A0100419992-0101[61.43]


AVAILABILITY
15 Euros/15 USD

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The Latvian composer, Ugis Praulins has been good at keeping this site up to date with his latest productions. His music is delightful and light on the ear and yet embraces sufficient gravitas to avoid the insipid or the crass.

The recording is made in the refined yet ample acoustic of the DOM Cathedral in Riga. The disc contains so-called ‘Sacral Music’ but the tone adopted is not so reverential as to tip over into dullness.

Praulins’ style is somewhere between the fleshy exaltation of Howells (Glory is the True Light from Hymnus Paradisi), the dazzlingly virtuosic display of Britten (St Cecilia) and darkly Baltic tradition partly exemplified by Rachmaninov in his Liturgy of St John Chrysostum (1910). There is also a touch of the populist about this music; perhaps something of a Latvian John Rutter.

The Missa Rigensis was written for Easter 2002 in the Cathedral. It is good to listen to and full of imaginative coups put to emotional musical effect. Try for instance the staccato high-pecked notes in the Credo (tr.3). With Epigrams and the other works we move into a world where percussion, keyboard and organ are variously deployed with a range of massed and solo voices. Once again Praulins exhibits considerable resource and brilliance in his use of ‘language’. The solo voices are all most effective. Listen, for example, to the soft-on-the ear singing in Domine (tr.7). The Magnificat is very much the theatre-pierce: very dynamic, almost operatic.

The disc is presented in a most attractively designed card case but sadly without words or background notes.

Choir directors looking for new material would do well to audition this disc as a matter of urgency. It’s my guess that once they have heard it they will want to share it quickly with their choirs.

Rob Barnett



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