Chorale’s current preparation (to be performed March 30 and 31) features a cappella music that spans northern Europe from Norway to Finland and south into the Baltic states—a region which provides a rich treasure trove of repertoire for lovers of modern, progressive choral composition. We will sing the Vespers portion of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia; Gjendines bådnlåt, a Norwegian folk song arranged by Swedish composer Gunnar Eriksson; Sanctus, by Ola Gjeilo, a Norwegian composer now residing in the United States; Ave Maria, by Tonis Kaumann, and Nunc dimittis, by Arvo Pärt, both Estonians; and Pater noster, by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks . With the sole exception of Rautavaara, who died in 2016, these composers are currently active and productive. It is a unique and thrilling experience for Chorale to be involved with music which is so much a part of our own time, and composers who are currently developing their own distinctive styles and voices while influencing one another and setting the course for the future of our art form.
Pēteris Vasks (born 1946), Latvia's most prominent composer, is the son of a Baptist minister, and grew up while Latvia was controlled by the Soviet regime. He studied composition at the State Conservatory in Vilnius in neighboring Lithuania, as he was prevented from doing this in Latvia due to Soviet repressive policy toward Baptists. He started to become known outside Latvia in the 1990s, and now is one of the most influential European contemporary composers.