LMIC radio

Ivanovs: Vocalises


Latvian Radio Choir
Reinis Zariņš - piano
Sigvards Kļava - conductor


Latvian composers



Release date



Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Dzimtenes ainava" / "Native Landscape"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Rudens dziesma" (Autumn Song)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Prelude"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Gubu mākoņi" (Cumulus Clouds)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Zīmējums" (Illustration)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Elēģija" (Elegy)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "A Winter Morning"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Jūsma" (Delight)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "On Rainy Day"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "In Commemoration of Heroes"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Migla" (Fog)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Prelude and Fuga"

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Gājputni" (Birds of Passsage)

Jānis Ivanovs

Vocalise "Cantus Monodicus. Gloria"



In the 1960s, Jānis Ivanovs composed five of his most experimental and expressionistic symphonies: Nos. 9 to 13. In them, he boldly employed polytonalities, polyharmonies and also the twelve-tone technique – everything that had been rehabilitated along with the thaw initiated at that time in social life and cultural processes. Already from a young age, Ivanovs had defended the composer’s right to innovation and development. He highlighted the melodic and contrapuntal lines in these symphonies with trumpets and the piano, newly introduced into the orchestra. And often he anxiously and even nervously subjected these lines to the dictates of rhythm. Ivanovs filled vast passages of his music with the tremolo of the snare drum, creating a backdrop similar to the rough canvas or coarse sandpaper that artists of the 1960s covered with thick brushstrokes using oversized brushes or putty knives. This was the era of the harsh style in Latvian art, poetry, music and culture, and Ivanovs, with his symphonies, fit well into this atmosphere; in fact, he was in its avanguard.

But in 1964, Ivanovs also created something else: a small vocalise titled Autumn Song, for a cappella mixed choir. It appeared in unpretentious four-part choral harmony, presenting a disarmingly warm melodicism and deeply respiring harmonic sequences containing parallel fifths, like a relic from an ancient shepherd’s song...

From where did this creative diversion, or perhaps undercurrent, appear in the oeuvre of Ivanovs, the composer of epic and dramatic symphonies and master of the harsh style?



Ivanovs was a pioneer of the so-called 'harsh style in Latvian music (it perhaps came first through poetry and art) which allowed for experimental use of poly- and atonality, clanking piano parts in the orchestra and even jazz-like percussion. And yet at the same time the composer was also writing some of the small a cappella pieces that would eventually effect a transition to late romantic manner. Autumn Song. sung here with refreshing simplicity, set the standart for a whole range of unaccompanied pieces, which seemed to bypass the more ideological orchestral work and reflect folk wisdom and everyday concerns. For those of us who find the middle symphonies the most exciting of this works this might secm like middleweight Ivanovs; they're attractively done, but too obviously transitional for greatness.


Choir&Organ magazine