Vasks: Distant Light, Piano Quartet, Summer Dances - Gluzman, Lintu

Vasks: Distant Light, Piano Quartet, Summer Dances - Gluzman, Lintu

BIS  BIS-2352

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Vasks: Distant Light, Piano Quartet*, Summer Dances^

Vadim Gluzman & Sandis Šteinbergs^, violins
Ilze Klava, viola*
Reinis Birznieks, cello*
Angela Yoffe, piano*
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hannu Lintu, conductor

Having spent much of his childhood in Latvia, where he also began his violin studies, Vadim Gluzman makes a return to his roots with this disc of music by Peteris Vasks. The ample programme (+ 84 minutes!) opens with the violin concerto ‘Distant Light’, which in the two decades since it was composed has become a modern classic. The composer has described it as ‘a song, coming from silence and floating away into silence, full of idealism and love, at times melancholy, at times dramatic.’

For the concerto, Gluzman found support from the strings of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hannu Lintu, just across the Baltic See from Latvia. For the other works on the disc he is however joined by Latvian colleagues and friends. These include the violinist Sandis Šteinbergs who appears in the duo Summer Dances, one of Vasks’ more carefree and buoyant pieces. This recent work in seven brief movements is, in the composer’s own words, the musical equivalent of a naivistpainting. In comparison, the Piano Quartet from 2001 is one of his longest and most imposing chamber works. Beginning with a perfect fifth in the piano, it takes the listener on an emotional roller-coaster, through hectic dances and dramatic songs to a typical ‘Vasksending’ with a distant light offering a tempered hope. In the quartet, Vadim Gluzman leads an ensemble consisting of Ilze Klava, Reinis Birznieks, and Angela Yoffe.

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PCM recording
Comments (2)

Comment by hiredfox - February 12, 2024 (1 of 2)

We had the very great privilege last week of sitting in at a Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra concert that featured Vadim Gluzman playing Pieter Vasks Violin Concerto in D, also known as " Distant Light".

It is a work with which we were not familiar but Gluzman's absolutely stunning live performance on the evening captivated our souls in a way that few modern works can or do. If like us you do not know this piece then you really are missing one of the most beautifully ethereal and deeply emotionally engaging compositions of our time or indeed of any time.

We were equally unaware that Gluzman had recorded the work for BIS a few years ago and in SACD format.

Needless to say it became an automatic "must' buy. The performance on disc is every bit as enthralling as the live concert performance, in fact it sounds exactly the same despite the change of orchestra and conductor. The sense of being at a live performance is stimulated from the very first impossible high shrieking note and never leaves you for 33 minutes. A simply amazing achievement by the performers, the recording team and BIS.

A truly outstanding recording in every respect, so thoroughly recommended that all of you should snap it up while you can. One of the best SACD of all time perhaps.

Comment by BrianE - July 5, 2024 (2 of 2)

If you've enjoyed this disc, don't sleep on the other disc of Vasks works on BIS with the viola concerto and the string symphony, or the Ondine disc with the 3rd symphony and 1st cello concerto. Both are very recommendable, with the viola concerto being more similar to the violin concerto, and the works on the latter disc having more of a Shostakovich influence.