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Kenins: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 And Aria Per Corde

Kenins: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 8 And Aria Per Corde

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Andris Poga and the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra plunge into Keninš’ challenging idiom with a vengeance, turning in bracing, invigorating performances of both symphonies.

This third album release in the first complete Tālivaldis Ķeniņš (1919–2008) symphony cycle includes the composer’s final symphonic creation, Symphony No. 8, with a remarkable organ solo part performed by the award-winning organist Iveta Apkalna, alongside the composer’s dramatic and concise 5th Symphony, both conducted by Andris Poga and performed by the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra.

Tālivaldis Ķeniņš (1919–2008) wrote an impressive cycle of eight numbered symphonies. Especially the 1970s and the 1980s were fruitful years to Ķeniņš as a symphonist: both Ķeniņš’ 5th and 8th Symphonies were premiered in Toronto, the previous in 1976 and the latter in 1986. Ķeniņš 5th Symphony starts with a powerful orchestral climax and itis a work with dark undercurrents. However, here the composer balances with two different opposite materials: the robust, contemporary world meets a fairy tale landscape glittering with the magic of dusk in the Latvian countryside. The Symphony No. 8 lends itself to analysis but not to description. In this work, Ķeniņš has quite possibly attained his highest metaphysical peak. From the storms of the first part and some longed for unattainability, through the second part’s luminous chorale to the finale of the third part with its eight double and triple beats, concluding with a single beat and transcendence. This symphony-concerto for organ and orchestra calls for a combination of masterful solo organ skills. In addition to excellent technique and a deep understanding of complex forms, a fine sense of the organ’s registers is also required, so that the organ part can both blend and shine in a surprising balance of musical pattern and orchestral instrumentation.

REVIEW:

Tālivaldis Keninš (1919-2008) was born in Latvia, but spent the largest portion of his life in Canada, and his name turns up on recordings dedicated to the music of both countries. He was educated, however, in France, and his music definitely reveals the influence of his main source of inspiration, Arthur Honegger. There is that same seriousness of purpose, amounting to grimness, and a similar rugged, dissonant, vigorous idiom—only more so. Compared to his model, Keninš’ music is more percussive, less anchored in tonality, but still fundamentally melodic and at heart, lyrical. It definitely takes some getting used to, but many listeners will find it worth the effort.

The Fifth Symphony (1976) starts with a bang, and the tension scarcely lets up through four connected movements lasting about twenty minutes. Give Keninš credit for not overstaying his welcome and fatiguing his listeners with an excess of relentless, grinding turmoil. The Eighth Symphony (1986-his last) has a concertante part for organ, making for some truly scarifying climaxes alongside meditative passages of a more brooding, quasi-liturgical character. The Aria for strings impressed me least, being simply glum and grey.

However, I have to say that Andris Poga and the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra plunge into Keninš’ challenging idiom with a vengeance, turning in bracing, invigorating performances of both symphonies, very well-recorded. Iveta Apkaina presides over an appropriately forbidding sounding organ, and the ultimate impression is that of a kind of purgative tantrum. You may not want to hear it every day, but there are circumstances when this sort of thing might be just the ticket.

-- ClassicsToday.com (Dsvid Hurwitz)

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Product Description:


  • Release Date: February 11, 2022


  • UPC: 761195138823


  • Catalog Number: ODE 1388-2


  • Label: Ondine


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Tālivaldis Ķeniņš


  • Conductor: Andris Poga


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra


  • Performer: Iveta Apkalna



Works:


  1. Symphony No. 5

    Composer: Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

    Ensemble: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Andris Poga


  2. Symphony No. 8, "Sinfonia concertata"

    Composer: Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

    Ensemble: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

    Performer: Iveta Apkalna (Organ)

    Conductor: Andris Poga


  3. Aria

    Composer: Tālivaldis Ķeniņš

    Ensemble: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Andris Poga