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Georgs Pelēcis

(18.06.1947 )

"They write music for two reasons: to speak to the listener intellectually, or also for the sake of music itself. Dearer to me is the second. All of my creative inspiration comes from music, from euphony that acts as an ideal reflection or embodiment of a homeland. Aspiring for this ideal is the most important theme in my work."

Georgs Pelēcis

Georgs Pelēcis is one of the most knowledgeable of musical scholars in Latvia, especially in the fields of history and theory of counterpoint.

The composer was born on June 18th, 1947 in Riga. He graduated the Piotr Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow in Aram Khachaturjan`s composition class in 1970, and in 1977 he finished the music theory post-graduate course with Vladimir Protopopov. As of 1970, he has been a lecturer in the Music Theory Department at the then Latvian State Conservatory, now the Latvian Academy of Music. In 1990 he was elected to the stature of a professor. His main disciplines are counterpoint and fugue.

Georgs Pelēcis’s work in the field of musicology is noteworthy. In 1981, he defended his science of art candidate (now doctorate of art) dissertation The Musical Forms of Jean de Ockeghem and the Traditions of the Netherlands Polyphonic School. In the specific sphere of polyphony he has been involved in more than 30 scientific works – both in Western European (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque) and Latvian music history – papers, presentations at international conferences in Riga, Moscow and Rome. His other major scientific research paper Palestrina’s Principles of Polyphony and Traditions of the Vocal Polyphonic Era (Dr. habil. art, 1990) is held in high regard in the world and was recognized with a medal at the International Palestrina Centre in Rome, Italy in 1993.

Georgs Pelēcis was the first president of the Ancient Music Centre of Riga. The composer has worked in a creative capacity at Oxford (1995, Corpus Christi College) and Cambridge (1997, Gonville and Caius College) Universities. Pelēcis has also received compositional commissions from the United Kingdom. His symphonic music for the Roald Dahl story Jack and the Beanstalk was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London. His works have been performed at the Al`ternativa festival in Moscow, and at the Lockenhaus festival in Austria. One of his works, the concerto Tomēr (Nevertheless), has received choreographic attention in recent years. The ballet troupe Dance Alloy performed to the music of the concerto in its entirety in a performance in Pittsburgh, USA in 2000 under the direction of choreographer Mark Taylor.

The musical tonality of Georgs Pelēcis seems to reverberate some amazingly clear positive spirit. This very quality, whose genetic ancestry can be found partly in Renaissance and Baroque music and partly in the minimalist aesthetic, brings a spiritual strength to the composer’s creative output and brings to Latvian music a previously unknown, freshly breathing and pulsating activity. From all the style classifications which the composer himself and musical critics have given to his works, the most precise would be new consonant music, where euphony is the harmonic ideal. The composer as a personality and a creator distances himself from the drama and the duality of the soul. His music has nothing in common with stylization, although it reveals a deeply understood knowledge of the music of past cultures. Georgs Pelēcis’s musical path became clear at the very beginning, in the 70s, when similar creative tools (both the goal of creating new works and the musical lexicon) amongst Latvian composers, at the time including the new generation, were not standard and needed honest defenses of the criteria of creative output.


SCIENTIFIC WRITINGS (The majority are in Russian. The works are at the Library of the Latvian Academy of Music, with author’s copyright – manuscripts, typed; papers with a methodological content are noted with an asterisk *) Dissertations (The year of defense is noted) Formoobrazovanije v muzyke Okegema i tradicii Niderlandskoj polifoničeskoj školy (The Musical Forms of Jean de Ockeghem and the Traditions of the Netherlands Polyphonic School). – Moscow: MGK im. P. Tchaikovskogo, 1981; author’s summary: LMA / Latvian Academy of Music, 1978, 35 pages. On the basis of research – the paper Nekotorye osobennosti formoobrazovanija v messah Okegema (Some Features of the Musical Form in J.Ockeghem’s Masses) // Problemy muzikoznanija, 4. – Moscow: MGK im. P. Tchaikovskogo, 1976, pp. 72–86 Principy polifonii Palestriny i tradicii epohi vokal’nogo mnogogolosija (Palestrina’s Principles of Polyphony and Traditions of the Vocal Polyphonic Era). – Moscow: Vsesojuznyj naučno-issledovatel`skij institut iskusstvoznanija (All Union Institute of Scientific Research in Art Sciences), 1990. In 2 parts: 1st part – 360 pages, 2nd part – 87 pages Middle Ages Strojenije kvadruplej Perotina (Perotin’s Quadruplum`s structure) // Voprosy muzykal`noj formy, 4. Editor V. Protopopov. – Moscow: Muzyka, 1985, pp. 151–188 * Obrazcy zapadnojevropejskogo rannego mnogogolosija v kurse analiza muzykal`nyh proizvedenij (Western Europe’s Early Polyphonic Examples in the Course of Musical Work Analysis). – Riga: MtK/ Methodological Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, 1986, 90 pages Viduslaiku mūzikas formveide. Motete (Form and Structure of Music in the Middle Ages. Motet) .– Riga: LMA/ Latvian Academy of Music, Part I – 1994, 26 pages, Part II – 1995, pp. 27–53 Renaissance * Obzor tematičeskih, vremjaizmeritel`nyh i akcentnyh osobennostjej ritma v horovom mnogogolosii XV-XVI vekov (Review of Thematic, Tempo-Metrical and Accent Characteristics of Rhythm in 15th-16th Century Choir Polyphony). – Riga: MtK/ Methodological Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, 1985, 59 pages K voprosu o tehnike sočinenija na cantus firmus (On the Question about the Compositional Technique of The Mass Malheur me bat by Josquin Després’s) // Teoretičeskije nabludenija nad istorijej muzykiv (Theoretical Observations about Musical History). – Moscow: Muzyka, 1978, pp. 54–77 A Study of Palestrina Style. – Roma: International Palestrina Centre, 1993, 265 pages Principy kompoziciji kanoničeskih mess Palestriny (Composition Principles of Palestrina’s Canonical Masses). – Moscow: MGK im. P. Tchaikovskogo, 1983, 33 pages O formoobrazovaniji v horovoj muzyke XV veka na primere nekotoryh mess L’homme armé (Form Problems in 15th Century Choir Music, on the Basis of Selected Masses L’homme armé). – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1979, 73 (146) pages Johann Sebastian Bach Strojenije dvuhgolosnyh invencij Baha (Bach’s Two-Part Invention Structure). – Riga: MtK/ Methodological Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, 1982, 129 pages Fūga Baha vokāli instrumentālajos darbos (The Fugue in the Vocal Instrumental Works of Bach). – Manuscript, 1997 Baltic Music Nekotoryje voprosy instrumentovki v rannih proizvedenijah Janisa Ivanova (na primere ego Poemy-Simfoniji) (A Few Instrumentation Questions in the Early Works of Jānis Ivanovs). – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1971, 45 pages Voprosy instrumentovki v Četvertoj simfoniji (Atlantida) Janisa Ivanova (Instrumentation Questions in the Fourth Symphony ‘Atlantīda’ by Jānis Ivanovs). – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1972, 25 pages Dramaturgija i instrumentovka Pjatoj simfoniji Janisa Ivanova (The Dramaturgy and Instrumentation of Jānis Ivanovs’s Fifth Symphony). – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1973, 37 pages Polifonija Jāņa Ivanova klaviermūzikā (Polyphony in the Piano Music of Jānis Ivanovs) .– Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1986, 16 pages Mūzikas forma Jāzepa Vītola kora dziesmās (Music Form in the Choir Songs of Jāzeps Vītols). – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1987, 38 pages Perioda forma Jāzepa Vītola kora dziesmās // (Form of the Period in the Choir Songs of Jāzeps Vītols) // Brīnišķais spēks (Miraculous Strength). Collection in remembrance of Jāzeps Vītols’s 130th birthday. Compiled by the Department of Music Theory. – Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1988, pp. 26–47 Polifonijas meistars – novators Jēkabs Graubiņš (Polyphonic Master – Innovator Jēkabs Graubiņš .– Riga: LVK/ Latvian State Conservatory, 1986, 12 pages. Also in the collection: Jēkaba Graubiņa radošā mantojuma nozīme mūsdienās (The Significance Today of Jēkabs Graubiņš’s Creative Legacy). Compiled by Ilma Grauzdiņa. – Riga: MtK/ Methodological Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, 1989, pp. 31–46 Jāņa Mediņa Dainas (Jānis Mediņš’s Dainas). – Manuscript, 1990 Kontrapunkts Tālivalža Ķeniņa darbos (Counterpoint in the Work of Tālivaldis Ķeniņš). – Manuscript, 1990 Algoritmu veidošana Arvo Perta skaņdarbā Tabula Rasa (The Formation of Algorithms in the Arvo Pärt work Tabula Rasa). – Manuscript, 1999 Methodological Writings 80 kanoni (80 Canons) (for solfeggio polyphony course). – Riga: MtK/ Methodological Cabinet of the Ministry of Culture, 1981

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