ARVYDAS MALCYS (b.1957): Blackthorn Eyes, Hyacinth of the Snowfields, Milky Way, PĒTERIS VASKS (b.1946): Piano Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 12V062
Description: Two very different approaches to the "New Consonance / Simplicity / Tonality" movement for which the Baltic have been especially noted in recent decades. Malcys bases these three pieces on powerful, commanding motifs which provide a solid structure, around which other processes and textures are spun. The piano's resolute gesture that follows the introduction to Blackthorn Eyes becomes an increasingly syncopated and vigorous dance, decorated by the strings, which twice manage to claim center stage with a sober chorale before being caught up in the jazzy folk romp initiated by the piano. Hyacinth ... presents two forceful - and very catchy - ideas at the outset, which are then repeated and discussed extensively by the piano and the string group. The work is built entirely out of persistent ostinato patterns developed from these memorable little melodic cells. A melancholy section provides unexpected contrast just before the end. The detached, dancing gestures of Milky Way suggest a lively post-minimalist neo-baroque ballet with folksong inflections. Vasks' nine movement quartet is an extended essay in the style of the 'new spirituality' with which Vasks is commonly associated. Modal melodic fragments in open intervals abound; Latvian folk-rhythms are incorporated, providing an earthy counterpoint to the static chorales of the work's hymn-like sections.The tense, emotionally strained passacaglia movement brings these elements together particularly effectively. Ippolitov-Ivanov Piano Quartet.