The album Lūgšana (Prayer) is composer Pēteris Vasks' gift to Latvia on its centenary. It contains four vocal symphonic compositions written over the past 40 years. Three of them – Prayer for a Mother, Laudate Dominum and Prayer for Latvia – appear here for the first time in new versions, with Vasks himself having been present during the recording process.
The oldest of the compositions is Prayer for a Mother (1978), initially called the Cantata for Women and with lyrics by Imants Ziedonis. Vasks wrote it, as he says himself, when he was still a young composer. Three different versions of the Missa (2000, 2001, 2005), in which the a cappella choir was joined by the organ and string orchestra, premiered in Copenhagen, Riga and Helsinki. Laudate Dominum (2016) and Prayer for Latvia (2014, 2016) with lyrics by Velta Toma are the most recent compositions.
"Prayer for a Mother (1978) is the earliest work by Vasks on this disc and provides not only an arresting opening but perhaps a benchmark for the other works recorded here. It has the same restless energy, in search of peace, as the Górecki of that time, but also something that one might describe as Mahlerian, and the text by Imants Ziedonis gives the composer everything he could want in terms of emotional response. Laure Teivāne is the ideal soloist, her voice lacking neither subtlety nor power."
Ivan Moody, Gramophone Magazine 9/2019