Baltic Exchange - The Philadelphia Inquirer



Early this year when the local choir the Crossing unveiled great music by the little-known young Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds, you had to wonder what other riches were out there. One answer is in this disc of unaccompanied choral works, all by living composers from Baltic countries in the last 20 years. They treat the medium with the kind of range and complexity one associates more with symphonic writing.

Soaring melodies, folklike tunes, drones with religious gravity, and stylized speech are all encompassed by these works, the biggest among them being Ugis Praulins' Missa Rigensis - one of the most original and personal settings of the Mass text imaginable. Best of all, this is a disc to live with: There's much to enjoy on first hearing, but all the pieces have dramatic new revelations on subsequent encounters.

David Patrick Stearns

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