Lakes Awake at Dawn

for mixed choir and symphony orchestra

Lakes Awake at Dawn was jointly commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the work of their music director Andris Nelsons. The work is for mixed choir and symphony orchestra and is based on poetry by Inga Ābele, as well as texts compiled by the composer from various writings about lakes.

Photo: Lakes Awake at Dawn was performed at Andris Nelsons’ Farewell Concerts at the CBSO in June 2015 (© CBSO).

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Year
2014
Commissioner
Boston Symphony Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Instrumentation
Mixed choir, symphony orchestra
Lyrics
Inga Ābele (1972) and texts compiled by the composer from various writings about lakes (translation Edita Page)
Language
English
Duration
13 min
Premiere
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and conductor Andris Nelsons at Boston’s Symphony Hall on 20–22 November 2014 and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, CBSO Chorus, and conductor Andris Nelsons at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on 17–18 June 2015
Score
ISMN
979-0-69795-673-5

Modest in length and direct in its address, this work for mixed chorus and orchestra sets texts by poet Inga Abele and by the composer himself. The opening music is restless and turbulent, conveying the primal anxiety expressed in the text’s description of a sleepless night in a forest, presumably alone. This section climaxes with a great mass of choral sound, out of which bursts a gaggle of wild glissandos, fanning out across the strings. The work concludes with an earnestly voiced “prayer for light.” Hearing Thursday’s fine performance whetted one’s appetite for more exploratory programming of music from Nelsons’s home country and its surroundings. (Jeremy Eichler)

Beginning with a colourful, multi-pitch chord that dissolves into fragments, the 13-minute work sustains Latvia’s venerable choral tradition with robust, resolutely tonal choral writing, as each of two parts builds to an almost cinematic climax in exalting nature. (George Loomis)