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|Having written a page about Egils Straume I promised to find out more about him in the newsletter and here is the product of my labours. Egils has performed on many CDs and in many countries. This page features several publications containing his work as well as a few additional bits about him and what he does. Egils has performed in Japan, the Philippines, Germany, Sweden, France, Britain, Latvia, Croatia, and many other countries. He is one of Latvia's most popular musical artists and regularly made soviet officials nervous in the past to the point of them cancelling his concerts on numerous occasions.|
The insert with the Blue Moon CD (pictured on the right) contains the following information:
LIVE IN EUROCONCERT
The sleave jacket also contains the following stuff:
Piano Duo Nora & Raffi
COMPOSER EGILS STRAUME
Piano Duo Nora & Raffi
LIVE IN SWITZERLAND AND CROATIA
LITHUANIA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, CONDUCTOR SAULIUS SONDECKISAnd on the back of the sleave jacket it has:
The Lithuanian Saulius Sondeckis wanted to be a violinist, but when he conducted the Vilnius string orchestra, his real talent appeared. He studied conducting at the Moscow Conservatoire by Igor Markevich. His string orchestra soon became known and after successful concerts in Budapest and Holland acquires the gold medal at the International Orchestra Contest in Berlin in 1976. Since then Sondeckis conducts the Lithuanian Chanber Orchestra; Schnittke wrote his 3rd Concerto grosso for this orchestra. Sondeckis and his musicians have recorded several CDs. Today Sondeckis works internationally as well and is invited to guest performances at cocert halls and festivals all over the world.
There is an inner sleave also with lots of info (this is copied verbatim below including spelling mistakes and weird grammar)...
This is the result of a successful co-operation of three outstanding contemporary musicians from the Baltic's. Composer and performer on wind instruments Egils Straume and Riga piano duo - Nora Novik and Raffi Kharadzanjan already for ten years have been working together. Their mutual co-operation develops in two directions they have created a whole series of multitable expressive compositions as well as made significant concert tours. This CD is presenting the repertoire which the three musicians have festivals in Croatia /1989/ and Switzerland /Boswil/ /1996/. In Zagreb Biennially they performed together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra conducted by the famous maestro Saulius Sondeckis.
Like unconstrained improvisation develops his Composition for Flute and Two Pianos /1994/. It seems to reflect a hazy landscape. Contrasting to the melancholic mood and illuminated sadness are the threatening hell tolls. Free, spontaneous features of development are characteristic also for the piece for alto-saxophone and two pianos "In Memorium" /1992/. It is the artist's reaction to the documentary operator's Andris Slapins tragic death. Besides unceasing sorrow and meditation it also expresses author's protest.
Like in other E. Straume's works the use of musical instruments is untraditional -lg. musicians play on the piano strings in various ways. Colourful sound solutions next to avant-garde methods of composition are characteristic for "About the dead Baltic Sea" /1980/. With this "ecological" music E. Straume warns the Latvian nation of possibility of losing the common environment, as it is being brutally exploited, the nature is seriously marred. This opus is for clarinet and two pianos. Elegant and lively is the Composition for Alto-Saxophone and piano duo /1988/. That is a jazz piece about the light sides of life full of imagination and fantasy.
Full of conflicts is the conceptual composition "Concerto Che-Che" for alto-saxophone, two pianos and string orchestra /1985/86/, which is peculiar for the unique, cast of performers. With contemporary means of composition the composer expresses his emotional attitude towards the two most tragic Universe scale events on two continents the Chernobyl catastrophe and the destruction of the "Challenger". The concert has two parts based on the contrast between the lively, stormy 1st part and intended static altitude in the 2nd where in the major part movements are as if frozen to stand-still. Only on this lange scale can you experience the aggressiveness of the rhythem and unbending pressure. The composer offers his alternative - from chaos there comes children song's motive-naive and bright. Perhaps it's the hope? Perhaps not all is lost yet? Perhaps Mankind will still have time to reconsider...?
Egils Straume /born 1950. Riga/ is a many-sided and creative personality. A brilliant saxophonist, leading his own jazz trio, an excellent clarinet player. He is also an original composer with splendid technique - author of numerous opuses, including an opera, oratorios, instrumental concerts, choral and vocal cycles. E. Straumes music is interesting for its rhythmic impulsiveness, originality and freshness of timbres. The composer creates fascinating melodies, expressing romantic, tenderly sentimental feelings, although in the restrained manner of a real Northerner. He also arranges folk song motifs.
E. Straume is a superb performer, virtuoso instrumentalist as well as a enthusiastic organiser. He is the director of the Riga International New Music Centre, has ten years experience in organising concerts, lectures, workshops etc. of contemporary music. I.N.M.C. is also the organiser of the largest contemporary music festival in the Baltic - the annual New Music Forum, which is held in Riga and other towns of Latvia, comprises more than 60 concerts and masterclasses E. Straume acquired higher education at the Latvian State Conservatoire /1974 - Prof. E. Mednis clarinets class 1980 - compositioon class of Prof. V. Utkins/. He improved his skills at the post graduate course of the Moscow Conservatoire with Prof. A. Leman..
1. Composition for blockflute and piano duo ... 15:02
2. "In memoriam" for alto sax and piano duo ... 10:19
3. "About the dead Baltic Sea" for clarinet and piano duo ... 10:47
4. Composition for alto sax and piano duo ... 7:21
5. Concerto Ch+Ch (Challenger and Chernobyl) for alto sax, string orchestra and piano duo ... 22:18
Total ... 65:47
Egils Straume /blockflute/ (1.), /alto sax/ (2.,4.,5.), /clarinet/ (3.)
Nora Novika /piano/,
Raffi Kharadzanjan /piano/
Lithuanian chamber orchestra, conductor Saulius Sondeckis (5.)
Live recorded in Switzerland /Boswil/ 1995 (1.,2.,3.,4.)
Live recorded in Croatia /Zagreb Biennially/ 1989 (5.)
Digital editing and mastering engineer Janis Lacis
Designer Janis Straume
PRODUCER INTERNATIONAL NEW MUSIC CENTER
25 Jelgavas Str. Riga. LV-1004, Latvia.
Phone/fax 371 7828538
Printed in Sweden, 2000.
IN MEMORIAM ANDRIS SLAPINS
IN MEMORIAM ANDRIS SLAPINS
Composer Egils Straume
The impulse for the composition was the tragic death of cameraman and documentary film producer Andris Slapins, being shot during the barricade time of 1991 in Riga. Having been an extremely popular person in Latvia, his death was perceived as personally as possible by almost everybody here, then what to say about Egils Straume, whose co-operation with Andris Slapins started already with composing music for his first film "The Liivi Songs" in 1975, and lasted till the very end, including the music written for the very last, unfinished film "The Baltic Saga". Andris Slapins managed to fix already 25 hours of material reflecting the end and after-effects World War II in Latvia, which, as you may know, have lasted for 50 years and included deportations, Siberian labour camps, exile.
Three Latvian folk songs are quoted there, not only forming the diatonic modal patterns, but defining more exactly the content as well, two of them being orphan songs, but the last one - for many years a symbolic manifestation of consolidation and persistence of the Latvian nation, a symbolic national anthem whilst the real national anthem was forbidden.
and the back of the cd box contains this picture with the following text