For two days, the wintry slumber of Cēsis is broken by long-unseen bustle. Two Latvian Television production trucks have been parked in the quiet Izstādes street, next to the statue of Alfrēds Kalniņš, deep in thought; and in Cēsis concert hall's dressing rooms the ladies of Sinfonietta Rīga hurriedly apply blush to their cheeks in preparation for an important TV recording: the programme includes Mozart, Copland, and Piazzolla. There are three soloists as well - young, capable, and energetic, all three have already staked their claim for conveying the musical truth.
The first, pianist Daumants Liepiņš, the recipient of the Grand Music Award of Latvia and the Vendome Prize of Verbier Festival, performs the Piano Concerto No. 17 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with remarkable ease; peace and tranquility fills the concert hall, while the snowflakes outside its walls swirl joyfully.
Aaron Copland's Clarinet Concerto is the ultimate test to every clarinetist's skill and artistry. The piece was commissioned to the great American composer in 1948 by Benny Goodman himself, and you would be right to expect jazz stylings through it, from the lyrical first part to the final exuberant glissando. Conductor Normunds Šnē has invited the recipient of the Grand Music Award of Latvia Anna Gāgane to perform the Copland's masterpiece for the concert recorded in Cēsis, and to show the challenge that this opus poses for its interpreters, we will reveal a secret - even the multi-headed and experienced team of directors, video-engineers and camera operators of Latvian Television needed an additional separate take to record the fast part of the composition.
While an invisible hand lowers a white veil over the stage of worldly passions and the inhabitants of Cēsis take the winter's solemn vow of silence, behind the walls of the concert hall Sinfonietta Riga relives the four seasons in their perennially shifting glory. But these are different Seasons - with a different timeline, unusual colours and strange bird migration patterns. The legendary Argentine composer and bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla composed the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires or Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas from 1965 to 1970. For us, Latvians, tango's bittersweet sunset poetry may have the air of September, but the tango king conjures a poetic picture of all four seasons - winter, spring, summer and autumn. At the end of the 20th century, Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov heavily revised Piazzolla's Seasons, creating a new score for solo violin and string orchestra, and adding several quotations from Antonio Vivaldi's Baroque prototype to the Argentine's composition.
The beloved wunderkind and winner of numerous international music competitions, Daniil Bulayev, whose name is also found among the nominees of this year's Grand Music Award of Latvia, is growing into a serious young man, unstoppable on his musical quest; therefore Normunds Šnē has trusted him to battle the summer's storms and winter's blizzards for the Latvian Television's recording.