Episodi e canto perpetuo

Composer: Peteris Vasks (b. 1946)
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Composer: Peteris Vasks (b. 1946)

Performance date: 03/07/2009

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1985

Duration: 00:30:18

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Trio

Instrumentation Other: pf, vn, vc

Artists: Storioni Trio (Bart van de Roer [piano], Wouter Vossen [violin], Marc Vossen [cello]) - [piano trio]

Vasks was born in April 1946 at Aizpute in Latvia. He studied at Riga and Vilnius
and was a double bass player before he became a composer. The Baltic nations
suffered much from Soviet repression and much of his music captures his
nation’s sense of community and its desire for freedom. This work dates from
before the time at the barricades and the blood in the streets in the early
nineties but it is clearly related to Messiaen’s work Quartet for the End of
Time, written at a concentration camp in 1941. The composer has described his
Trio as a difficult journey through the
realms of distress, disappointment and the suffering of love, which in
particular forms the central point of the canto.
There are eight movements
played without a break.

resonant chords from the piano punctuate the quiet opening bars, which
establish a mood of tense expectation. A big climax is built up and abruptly
cut short, leading us immediately into the
Episode. This is described by the composer as a glance at the sleeping earth on
a quiet night. The third movement jumps in immediately with a brief and
fantastic dance, which works up to its climax and leaps straight into the
Burlesca. This is a powerful and
aggressive movement with driving rhythms with a savage central section that
reminds us of Shostakovich’s bitter outbursts. The fifth movement,
Monologhi, is a series of solo recitatives,
first by the strings and finally the piano, acting as a thoughtful interlude
before the
Burlesca returns with
heightened intensity and aggression. A spectacular conclusion on the piano
followed by a long fade lead into Vasks’ homage to the last movement of the End
of Time quartet. A broad-arched melody on the violin opens the movement
pianissimo gradually leading into a
passionate song
  accompanied all the
while by widely spaced piano chords. Eventually the cello takes over the melody
and finally the two strings together. This leads without pause into the
emotional climax of the work where violin and cello sing in an exposed
tessitura accompanied by volcanic chords
in the piano. The long dying close takes the sound to ever clearer heights.