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Es Kara Aiziedams: Folksong Mystery

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Es Kara Aiziedams: Folksong Mystery
Es Kara Aiziedams: Folksong Mystery


The dainas (Latvian folksong) chamber mystery "Es, kara aiziedams..." (As I go off to war) is a story about the soul's battle about the soldier's courage to leave and the woman's strength in letting him go towards the unknown.

I have interwoven an unanswered, and perhaps unanswerable, question in this story, namely, who of us is prepared to risk our life and happiness in the name of a larger idea? As the rich heritage of Latvian folk poetry confirms, such a thought has preoccupied Latvians for centuries. These countless verses express the human frailties that surface when a young man is called to war. A woman stands next to him, be it a mother, sister or bride, and reacts bitterly to his departure and absence.

"As I go off to war" does not provide an answer to whether it is worth sacrificing one's life to the war machine. It does not glorify heroism; on the contrary, it reveals the fragile internal world of humans that is destroyed in war. Through my music and the poetic language of the dainas I have aspired to express a poignantly human and undoubtedly pacifist message. The musical frame centering on the mythical blacksmith's wife points to the cyclical and ever-renewing nature of war. Will a new era arrive, in which we look back at the horrors of war as a thing of the past that the strength of the human spirit has defeated?

"As I go off to war" is a cyclical composition in ten parts that follows the path of a soldier: farewells, absence, return. The first and last parts serve as a seemingly timeless introduction and postlude. The structure of the cycle is linked together by four electronic interludes that act as transitions to each next stage. The music reflects the unique style of the Arcandela ensemble, which performs a fusion of folk, jazz and classical music. The dainas texts inspired me to create an acoustic world in which I strived to bring together an archaic and contemporary palette of sound.

"As I go off to war" is dedicated to the souls that have been and continue to be extinguished by senseless war. It provides solace to hearts broken while waiting for sons, brothers, husbands to return but never meeting them again. The core of human strength expressed in Latvian folk poetry lives across time, space and nationality. - Composer Gundega Smite


  1. Name
  2. Kur Tecesi, Menestini? (Ievads) / Where Are You Going, Dear Moon? (Introduction)
  3. Zile Breca / The Titmouse Calls
  4. Intermedija Nr. 1 / Interlude No. 1
  5. Lai Ziedeja Vainadzins / May The Crown Of Flowers Bloom
  6. Div Balozi Strauta Dzera / Two Doves Drank In A Stream
  7. Intermedija Nr. 2 / Interlude No. 2
  8. Liku Loku Upe Tek / The River Meanders
  9. Zviedz, Zviedz Sirmais Zirdzin! / Neigh, Neigh, Grey Horse
  10. Intermedija Nr. 3 / Interlude No. 3
  11. Kara Vira Ligavina / The Soldiers Bride
  12. Labak Mani Kara Kava / Better To Die In Battle
  13. Intermedija Nr. 4 / Interlude No. 4
  14. Parskrej Brala Kumelins / My Brothers Horse Returned
  15. Kur Tecesi, Kalva Sieva? (Postludija) / Where Are You Going, Blacksmiths Wife? (Postlude)
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