Eriks Esenvalds - At The Foot Of The Sky ERIKS ESENVALDS - At The Foot Of The Sky - State Choir Latvija - Maris Sirmais (Conductor) - Released: September 2013 - Latvija VAK-1301

In keeping with the general impression I felt after listening to Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds' 'Passion and Resurrection' released on Hyperion Records in 2011 (reviewed here), I must say that this new recording of eight secular choral pieces written over the last seven years or so has the same profound effect. Despite the fact that this composer's music is influenced by the styles of today and obviously written using the latest technical tools of the trade, it somehow defies the notion of time and era, and instead transcends the 'now' and transports your mind's gaze back through time and space, as if the music was drifting from the cosmos. And oddly enough, with titles like Stars, Northern Lights, Seneca's Zodiac and Sun Dogs, one can't help but think that the composer's inspiration itself came from the stars. The limited use of sparse instrumentation here and there (bass flute, percussion, strings) adds an extra dimension that reinforces the ethereal and otherwordly qualities of the music. And of course, the State Choir Latvija, with a blend and balance of forces second to none, and perfectly calibrated shifts in dynamics, are the natural match for this music. If you like choral music and are looking for something beyond the norm, I strongly recommend you seek this one out!

Jean-Yves Duperron - August 2014