Even though for the past several years the Carion Quintet has had two wonderful Latvian musicians (Egīls Šēfers and Egils Upatnieks) as members, we have only recorded music by Danish and other Western European composers. We were therefore very pleased to respond to the invitation from Skani to compile a selection of works by Latvian composers for its series dedicated to Latvia’s centennial.
For this album we have selected and recorded what are, in our opinion, the very best of approximately twenty exceptional, noteworthy works by Latvian composers for woodwind quintet. It is possible, of course, that our decisions regarding these three composers were swayed by the teachers of our Latvian musicians – the oboist Vilnis Pelnēns and the clarinetist Ģirts Pāže were the first to perform these pieces and have thus largely influenced subsequent performances. But the music of Zemzaris, Plakidis and Vasks also appealed to us, as well as surprised us to some extent, because of how skillfully and yet differently each composer felt the unique colour and roles of the various wind instruments in an ensemble, how he appreciated the special texture and palette of the quintet. Also, how harmoniously the creative pursuits of these then still very young composers fit together here with their sense of beauty, taste and expression of genuine emotion.
This is not simply well-written music for quintet; it is good music in and of itself. The seeming simplicity and sincerity of this music provides profound emotional and spiritual joy – all in all, it is perhaps the most beautiful material found in the quintet repertoire.