Sinfonietta Rīga and Latvian Radio Choir in a resounding performance at the Elbphilharmonie

    On Thursday, February 9, the State Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta Rīga and Latvian Radio Choir, led by conductor Sigvards Kļava, will open the “Lux Aeterna”  festival at the Great Hall of Elbphilharmonie. The opening concert of the festival, which is dedicated to works that revolve around spirituality and transcendence, presents German audiences an opportunity to enjoy the best sacred music works of the world-renowned Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

    Just one month after the inauguration of the greatest European cultural monument of the 21st century thus far, the Elbphilharmonie, the top Latvian professional musical collectives –  Sinfonietta Rīga and Latvian Radio Choir, led by conductor Sigvards Kļava, are rushing to perform at the concert hall, which remains in the limelight of unabated international attention. 

    At their début in the Elbphilharmonie both collectives have been entrusted an important mission – to perform at the opening of the "Lux Aeterna" festival. This quite recent musical event takes place in the concert halls and churches of Hamburg for the third time, and this year it rightfully claims also the new concert hall. The festival has been envisioned as a countermeasure to the melancholy brought about by the Nordic winter, and is dedicated to the quest for inner harmony, this time enticing the audiences with a clear and cheerful motto – "a music festival for the soul".

    "We, Latvians, are immensely honoured to be among the first to perform in the Elbphilharmonie. I would like to compare this mission to the Olympic torch relay, a task that we do with a deep appreciation for the human spirit that takes us above the everyday soot and dust. Bringing this flame and the heavenly sound of Arvo Pärt to the temple of music by the Elbe is, without a doubt, one of the all time highs for both Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Rīga. The only thing we could wish for is to have  this temple for spirit and soul here in Riga, a city in its essence so close to her old Hanseatic sister Hamburg in Germany," conductor Sigvards Kļava said of the historic occasion. 

    In the opening concert of the "Lux Aeterna" festival, the hearts of the audience will be thoroughly bathed in the Baltic sound. Latvian musicians will perform the tranquil and majestic music of Estonian Arvo Pärt, one of the internationally most acclaimed contemporary composers. Altogether the concert will include nine opuses: Solfeggio, Fratres, Nunc dimittis, Salve Regina, Da pacem Domine, "Silouan's Song”, “Estonian Lullaby” and his 2010 masterpiece “Adam’s Lament” – an overpowering testament to spiritual strength, the recording of which brought world-wide recognition to Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Rīga, as well as the prestigious Grammy Award.

    British newspaper The Guardian wrote in its review of the award-winning recording: “The mix of Orthodox-style chant, ethereal string writing and block-like vocal writing amalgamates Pärt's most familiar styles, but the whole has more contrast and colour than usual. In this world première recording, the Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis and Sinfonietta Riga perform with admirable commitment.”

    The festival “Lux Aeterna” will continue for almost three weeks, offering a total of 21 concerts and alternating between classical music masterpieces and delicate experiments with transcendental experience and sonic vibrations. A smorgasbord of musical genres will be represented: from electronics to the musical heritage of Far East, to folk music. The opening concert with the participation of Latvian musicians  who will bring the sacred message from the Baltic shores, is among the most anticipated events of this year's festival, along with the four-hour 'mindfulness opera' “Lost in Thought” by the Mahogany Opera Group from the United Kingdom, and, in the conclusion of the festival, the performance of Benjamin Britten's “Curlew River” with British tenor Ian Bostridge as the lead. 

    The Elbphilharmonie is considered one of the greatest and architecturally most expressive concert halls in the world. It was inaugurated on the January 11 with a celebratory opening concert, in the presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Elbphilharmonie is located in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, on an peninsula of the Elbe River. It is constructed on the base of an existing eight-storey building, a former warehouse. Together with the main superstructure that includes glass panel façade, the building reaches 26 storeys high and is the tallest residential building in Hamburg. The concert hall was designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, who also worked on the extension project of Tate Modern art gallery in London and designed the Beijing National Stadium among their many other world-renowned projects. The acoustics of the new concert hall was designed by Japanese acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, who has previously designed similar solutions for the Philharmonie de Paris, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

    Detailed “Lux Aeterna” programme can be found on the festival's official website

W. A. Mozart - Symphony No. 41 "Jupiter"
F. Mendellsohn - Symphony No. 3
Linda Leimane - Guesstimations
R. Strauss - Oboe Concerto
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