“The mind says one thing. But how will you fool the soul?”
– Imants Zemzaris

It looks like I’ve got plenty to write about in the next week or so: a reflection on the Spaces of (dis)Location conference, a follow up to the Divine Feedback posting, a review of Mandragora and some pieces relating to my Huddersfield research…

… and I’m certain that Pastorales for Summer Flute by Imants Zemzaris will be the soundtrack to some of this activity. I first heard this piece around 18 months ago during a rekindling of my love for contemporary organ music: the flutes in this case are the beautiful, mellow and clear flute pipes of the organ.

Zemzaris seems to be largely unknown in outside his native Latvia – there is certainly little about him or his music on the Internet, the most comprehensive biography being at Musica Baltica. I’ve not seen the score, but there appear to be five sections, four of them, introspective and mysterious meditations with flutes, and a central overwhelming and dramatic section that – as the saying goes – pulls out all the stops. The contrast between the central section and the beautifully simple arpeggios that follow it bowled me over on first hearing and continues to do on subsequent listens.

Enough writing! Since there doesn’t seem to be a performance of the piece online – and a 30 second extract would hardly convince anyone of it’s beautifully melancholic majesty – I’ve taken the rather cheeky liberty of presenting an extract from the latter half of the piece below. This is taken from Baltic Organ Music performed by Hans Ola-Ericcson.

It’s worth your while buying this album for a paltry $9.99 since it also includes a recording of Arvo Part’s monumental Annum Per Annum, which is a must for anyone who appreciates a good drone (and organ flutes)!

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