An ear for the past

  • 2009-07-02
  • By Monika Hanley

ANCIENT AURALS: Latvia's annual international music festival will focus on eary Italian styles, Gregorian chants and classical greats such as Vivaldi.

RIGA - The sounds of ancient music will ring through Rundale palace and the old streets of Riga. This year, the 15th annual International Ancient Music Festival will be held from July 9-11, and will focus on early Italian music.
The festival will include the music of Gregorian chants, the familiar music of Italian baroque master Vivaldi, Monteverdi's madrigals and other Italian baroque selections.

The audience will also be able to enjoy the vocal ensemble of Riga's Schola Cantorum, "Butterflies for the Sky," chamber orchestra Sinfonetta Riga, baroque orchestra "Collegium Musicum Riga," Riga's Dome boys choir, Contratenor Sergejs Jegers, Estonian baroque ensemble Hortus Musicus, legendary violinist Tatjana Grindenko and more.
The last concert of the festival, and the grand finale, will feature one of the world's most famous and awarded madrigal groups, vocal ensemble La Venexiana of Italy.
Festival organizers "Latvia's Concerts" are also this year putting together a special event for children, "Summer in Venice" in the gardens of the beautiful Rundale Palace, where children will be able to make masks, see concerts such as "The Story of Rudo the Priest" by Vivaldi,  and learn how to dance the minuet. 

The opening of the popular festival will be on July 9 in the "Three Brothers" courtyard at 3:00 p.m., where listeners will be greeted by Gregorian chants sung by Schola Cantorum Riga, as well as the solo ensemble "Butterflies for the Sky."
At 10 p.m. come see the musical theater in Riga's St. Peters Church, where the audience will learn how music was made in the middle ages and early baroque period in Riga. Ansis Rutenals' motion theater will be present as well.

In the Small Guild on July 10 at 8 p.m. the festival continues its positive resonance with the orchestra Sinfonetta Riga solo concert, this time with parallels highlighting the difference between German and Italian baroque. This concert includes selections from Bohemian born German baroque master Jan Dismas Zelenka pitted against the music of Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.
The same evening at 10 p.m. in St. Peter's Church, immerse yourself in an ancient monastery. Audiences will be able to hear early 13th century French songs and chants, as well as Italian Gregorian chants from Schola Cantorum Riga

The music festival will reach its climactic end in Rundale on July 11. In the palace's White Hall, for the first time in Latvia, the audience will be privy to a performance of Vivaldi's Introduzione e Gloria, from Riga's Dome boys' choir, and soloist Sergejs Jegers.
The baroque orchestra Collegium Musicum Riga with director Martins Klisans will also be taking part, together with Simfonetta Riga and legendary violinist Tatjana Grindeko and more.
Tickets are available from Bilesu Paradize, with prices ranging from 5-10 lats for Riga concerts and 5-20 lats for concerts in Rundale. Discounts for pensioners and students are also available.