"The album opens with the still unpublished, romantically affected Three Introductions to the Rainis Poem "AVE SOL" (1960) by Jānis Mediņš, whose manuscript was brought from 1989 to Latvia by the pianist Ventis Zilberts. Characters created by the Latvian playwright Rūdolfs Blaumanis inspire the Imants Zemzaris miniature "The Year of Blaumanis" (1988).
Impressions of Spanish culture are revealed in works composed as part of the Embassy of Spain’s Dreams of Spain project from 2011 – Selga Mence’s "Impressions of Salvador Dalí", Andris Dzenītis’ "Dorada", Anitra Tumševica’s "Cancion de Diana. Encaje Español", and Andris Vecumnieks’ "Quasi Carmen". Additionally, the creation and recording of Gundega Šmite’s "Hungarian Pianoscapes" was supported by the Embassy of Hungary.
The commissioned new works for the VI and VII Jāzeps Vītols International Piano Competition are notable for their impressionistic colours – Ēriks Ešenvalds’ "Frozen Horizon" (2013) and Jānis Zandbergs’ "Volatile Watercolor" (2017). A refined sound also characterises the newest Latvian piano music, including Pauls Dambis’ "Bells of the Wind", Dace Aperāne’s "Water Patterns", and Mārīte Dombrovska’s "Impressions for Piano and Electronics", all composed in 2018.
The album concludes with two Pēteris Vasks miniatures "Music for a Summer Evening" and "Latvian Dance", which, with their lyrical expression and allusions to Latvian folk songs, call back to the vivid miniatures of Jāzeps Mediņš at the beginning of the CD.
This album reveals not just the characteristic paradigms of Romanticism and the bitter and sad longings for the unobtainable in Latvian piano music, as in, for example, the works by Dace Aperāne, Selga Mence, and Ēriks Ešenvalds, but also the varied approaches toward the instrument and searches for new sounds, using sonoric approaches: the vibrating iron bars placed on the strings in Gundega Šmite’s "Hungarian Pianoscape No. 2" or the electronic effects in Mārītes Dombrovska’s Impressions. Conversely, Andris Vecumnieks’ clever paraphrase "Quasi Carmen" is notable for its humour and vivid virtuosity." Diāna Zandberga