IMANTS ZEMZARIS cut his musical teeth inside the Soviet avant garde and, in a similar way to English experimentalist Cornelius Cardew, rejected “high modernity” and tried to find a simpler way of being musical.
As the composer reaches his 70th birthday this dedicated album, featuring works for piano, includes his second piano sonata. Placed alongside the numerous preludes and interludes, it shows how the crystal-clear music is masterfully adapted for any theme or idea, be it late summers, Shakespearean sonnets or a bright early morning.
Zemzaris has had a personal fascination for me for a long time and this, a treat of a new release, could interest those eager to broaden their pool of composers. He is well worth investigating and the particularly skilful playing of Diana Zandberga makes this album especially worth adding to any collection.
Ben Lunn, "Morning Star"
This collection of piano music by the contemporary Latvian composer Imants Zemzaris’s also comes with official approval, pianist Diāna Zandberga having known Zemzaris since the mid 1990s. If you’re not won over by the album’s opener, the disarmingly beautiful “Early in the Morning” from 1975, you’ve no soul. The Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets is similarly appealing, its simple theme repeated and transformed into a fugue subject in a little over five minutes. More verse underlies Motives of Rainis Poetry, four miniatures taking inspiration from love poetry by the Latvian writer Rainis. Five Preludes of Indian Summer sound in places like Bartok folk transcriptions, Zandberga’s wordless vocalise in the final number perfectly realised.
Zemzaris’s compact Piano Sonata No. 2 has an engaging, propulsive first movement, the energy dissipating completely by the time we get to the funereal finale. And the title track, Eine andere Wanderer-Fantasie, quotes from a Beethoven song and a Brazilian jazz standard, the two worlds never quite reaching an accord. An understated delight, well annotated and beautifully performed.
review link HERE