Juris Karlsons: Dances of Life and Death
Liepāja Symphony Orchestra
Guntis Kuzma - conductor
"El Cid. Dances of Life and Death"
Suite from the ballet "Antonija # Silmači"
As an artist and a representative of the field of music, JURIS KARLSONS (1948) can hardly be described in one sentence; he is diverse and versatile – flexible, so to speak – in his choice of creative ideas and genres. The somewhat bothersome adjective ‘open’ applies to him as well, for something extra-musical accompanies, underlies or even guides all of his purely musical ideas and versions. This may manifest itself quite directly, in the form of a poetic text or action on stage. But also more hypothetically, in the background, like an old chest with a double bottom: here a breaching of the concerto genre and performance concept with special comments, there an indulging of the search for the right variant of the symphonic genre, yet elsewhere the wide range of instruments selected and the combinations thereof. After all, plenty of miniatures of all kinds, too – both in the vocal and instrumental genres as well as, naturally, combined. Karlsons has had to try everything, test it with his own perception. While I would prefer not to pigeonhole him, one could perhaps risk describing him as moderately modern: without extremes, but on trend; not falling outside the paradigm of Latvian music, but nevertheless inscribing in it his own name and style. The varied pieces on this album share a common characteristic: they are linked with the stage, with theatre, and therefore with another kind of art, namely, narrative art. Yes, in different forms and degrees of directness or indirectness, but the spotlights are there, not to mention the fact that all of the works are rooted in literary compositions as their original message, as their impulse. And I feel that Karlsons’ own contribution also includes a slice of theatre and theatricality. As it does in each one of us. With all the monologues and dialogues, the expositions and the silent final scenes… But, if it is a composer offering us such a view, such a vision, it must also contain a trick of sorts, a catch, a special angle, a lock and key.