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On Photography - Bryars/Maskats/Silvestrov

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On Photography
On Photography


Gavin Bryars was guest composer at the Arena Festival in Riga in 2003. His first concert there was with the Latvian Radio Choir in the very beautiful St John's Church. Working closely with them made him realise that "this is probably one of the finest choirs in the world today" and he "experienced at first hand the extraordinary beauty of its choral sound, the precision of its ensemble, perfection of its intonation, subtlety of its phrasing, as well as the striking individuality of its soloists". He resolved to find the opportunity to do more with them and proposed a series of recordings, of which this is the first.

For the first time on GB Records Gavin has also included composers other than himself. This came about because of his work with the choir, and from a particular incident. For the first concert in Riga the choir sang in two different formations - as it does here. One was a large ensemble of 50 voices for 'Three Poems of Cecco Angiolieri' and one a medium ensemble of 24 voices for 'And so ended Kant's travelling in this world'. Arriving early for the rehearsal he heard the choir sing a work he did not know but thought "the most beautiful music I had ever heard". He later learned that it was by Valentin Silvestrov (the Ukrainian composer championed by ECM) and was one of the very few pieces of choral music that he had written. Gavin Bryars resolved at that moment to include this music on the recording and enable it to be heard more widely.

Subsequently he decided to add another extraordinary work by Latvian Arturs Maskats. Getting to know Latvian and other Baltic composers has been one the pleasures and privileges of working with the choir and he now has a lively working relationship, and strong personal friendship, with its two great conductors Kaspars Putnins and Sigvards Klava.

Recorded 2005

Personnel: Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Klava and Kaspars Putnins, Edgars Saksons (percussion - 5), Janis Maleckis (piano), Gavin Bryars (harmonium - 7)


  1. Name
  2. Gavin Bryars: And So Ended Kant's Travelling In This World
  3. Gavin Bryars: Three Poems Of Cecco Angiolieri, I. La Mia Malinconia...
  4. II. S'i' Fosse Foco...
  5. III. La Stremita...
  6. Arturs Maskats: Da Ispravitsja Molitva Moja
  7. Gavin Bryars: On Photography, I. Expressa Solis
  8. II. Expressa Solis/Tersa Perfetta
  9. III. Resonare Fibris
  10. Valentin Silvestrov: Diptychon, I. The Lord's Prayer
  11. II. Testament
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