Visions of Arctic: Night

for clarinet, symphony orchestra, and electronics

Visions of Arctic: Night for clarinet, symphony orchestra, and electronics is Ešenvalds’ Liepaja Concerto No 4 written for the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

It begins with an almost jaunty, folk-like tune for the clarinet with lively orchestral accompaniment. Again there are novel effects in brass and percussion. The statements of the main element of the theme are subjected to mysterious echoes. In fact this device evokes limitless space, a sense reinforced by the extraordinary atmospherics that follow. Ešenvalds here fashions a quite magical evocation of sky, one quite unencumbered by cliché, and while the listener attempts to make some sense of these sounds, a big orchestral climax leads to curious electronic effects which act as a bridge to the beautiful theme of the slow movement. The brilliant clarinettist Ints Dālderis projects strange whisperings and flutterings which are accompanied by a gentle piano commentary and an omnipresent electronic halo — magical episodes like this act to remind this listener why one bothers to listen to new music in the first place. One imagines lying flat on one’s back in an Orkney field devoid of natural light, after the solstice, staring at the heavens. The shimmering yet pellucid writing for both soloist and orchestra is perfectly natural and completely miraculous. This Espressivo–Misterioso slow movement is a stunning achievement by any standards. It’s also difficult to follow. The finale is marked Maestoso–Grave–Limpido; its truly majestic opening soon gives way to gently pulsing, veiled textures, again seemingly underpinned by a synthetic sounding haze. Roughly halfway through the jaunty material from the opening re-emerges and triggers the pulling together of threads from the rest of the work, but not before a final contemplation of the celestial vistas.

— Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International

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Liepaja Symphony Orchestra
Cl in Bb, symphony orchestra, electronics
3 movements: I. Inquieto–Misterioso, II. Espressivo–Misterioso, III. Maestoso–Grave–Limpido
Liepaja Concerto No 4
25 min
Ints Dālderis (clarinet), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and conductor Atvars Lakstīgala at the Latvian Society House, Liepaja on 19 October 2012 and the Great Guild Hall, Riga on 26 October 2012
979-0-69795-289-8 (MB1381)
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