Janis Ivanovs

Internet Edition compiled by Onno van Rijen

Updated 11 February 2007


Born

9 October 1906 in Babri (Latvia, District Preili). Died: 27 March 1983 in Preili (Riga).

Education

Janis Ivanovs studied at Latvian Conservatory in Riga from 1924 until 1933. He graduated from Georg Schneevoigt's conducting class in 1931 and Jazeps Vitols' composition class in 1933 at the Latvian Conservatory.

Principal Works

Twenty-one symphonies, four symphonic poems, piano concerto, violin concerto, cello concerto, piano pieces, works for chorus, three string quartets, trio for violin, cello and piano.

Style

In his early years his music is characterized by dramatical conflicts and psychological experience. In his later works he displays also the beauty of the present day and romantic and emotional agitation. His compositions are permeated with profound human emotions and correspond to the reality of life.
He developed a highly individual style, rooted in a synthesis of late romanticism, folklore, and impressionism. With the music of Ivanovs, a new level of clear, constructive form and precision entered Latvian symphonic music, which excluded expressive approximation and passiveness. His works gained a new dimension of dramaticism and monumentalism in the decades following World War II under the influence of expressionism and neo-classicism. His 4th and 5th Symphonies were attacked for being musically formalistic and denounced during the infamous 1948 campaign of the Zhdanov aesthetic.
When the intensity of ideological manipulation thawed somewhat after the death of Stalin, Janis Ivanovs was gradually able to recapture the depth of psychological expression he had attained earlier, in his 7th (1953) and especially his 8th Symphony (1956). After his Piano Concerto (1959), beginning with his 9th Symphony and continuing up to his 21st Symphony (1983, completed and orchestrated by Juris Karlsons), Ivanovs’ symphonic music became decidedly more dramatic, monumental, even philosophic, although the dramatic elements therein are individualized in each work. The dramatic aspects of his symphonies are multi-layered. One is defined by the eternal artistic concept “the individual vs. mankind”. It is associated with a strong will, self-proclamation, and an energetic struggle, as well as the pain of loss and resignation. But alongside this psychological layer there is also a second dramatic element, which portrays conflicts of the external world. The disguising of these two dramatic spheres and the motion from one to the other is one of the most characteristic idiosyncrasies in the symphonic music of Janis Ivanovs.

Masterworks

Symphony No. 4 (194?) - LP Melodiya D 025011-2
Piano Concerto (1959) - LP Melodiya CM 02743-4 / LP Melodiya D 07267-68
Symphony No. 11 (1965) - LP Melodiya D 23877-8
Rainbow, symphonic picture (1939) - LP Melodiya C10 05961-2
Symphony No. 15 (1972?) - LP Melodiya CM 04223-4

Works

Etudes and Variations in F sharp minor for piano (1930)
LP Melodiya D 14323-4: G. Stade (piano)
Piano Sonata (1931)

String Quartet No. 1 (1932)

Duration: 23 minutes 30 seconds.
Symphony No. 1 (1933)
Duration: 13 minutes.

LP Melodiya: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2008: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)

"The Song of a Latgalian Shepherd (Latgales gana dziesma)" for voice and accompaniment (1935)
Duration: 4 minutes.

CD Balss BA CD 078: Talis Matiss (tenor), Hermanis Brauns (piano)

"Pictures from Latgalian Landscapes", suite no. 1 for orchestra (1935)
Duration: 18 minutes.

CD Campion CAMEO 2008: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Janis Zirnis (cond)

Symphony No. 2 in D minor (1935)
Duration; 30 minutes.

LP Melodiya: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)
CD Marco Polo 8.223331: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Yablonsky (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2008: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)

"In My Homeland (Manas dzimtenes puse)" for voice and accompaniment (1936)
Duration: 2 minutes.
"On the Sauleskalns (Sauleskalna)" for voice and accompaniment (1937)
Duration: 3 minutes.

CD Balss BA CD 078: Talis Matiss (tenor), Hermanis Brauns (piano)

"The Faith of a Ploughman (Araja ticiba)" for voice and accompaniment (1937)
Duration: 3 minutes.

CD Balss BA CD 078: Talis Matiss (tenor), Hermanis Brauns (piano)

"Land, Land, Daugava (Zeme, zeme, Daugavina)" for voice and accompaniment (1937)
Duration: 3 minutes.
Concerto for cello and orchestra in B minor (1938)
Revised in 1945.
Duration: 19 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 1891-2: Latvian Radio Orchestra, L. Vigners (cond), E. Bertovskis (cello)
LP Melodiya C 01475-6: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond), E. Bertovskis (cello)
CD Campion CAMEO 2009: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Leonids Vigners (cond), Maris Villeruss (cello)
CD Strawberry Records 001: (Second movement) Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Terje Mikkelsen (cond), Agnese Rugevica (cello)
CD UPE Classics 750404001726: (Second movement) Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (conductor)

"Evening of Agluna (Aglunas vakars)" for voice and accompaniment (1938)

"The Cloudy Mountain (Padebesu kalns)", symphonic sketch for orchestra (1938)

Duration: 9 minutes.

CD Campion CAMEO 2009: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)

Symphony No. 3 in F minor (1938)
Duration: 31 minutes.

LP Melodiya: Latvian Radio & TV SO, Leonids Vigners (cond)
CD Marco Polo 8.223331: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Yablonsky (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2009: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Leonids Vigners (cond)

"Rainbow (Varaviksne)", symphonic sketch for orchestra (1938)
Duration: 10 minutes 30 seconds.

LP Melodiya C10 05961-62: Latvian TV and Radio SO, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2007: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)

"Legend (Legenda)" for wind orchestra (1940)
Duration: 12 minutes 30 seconds.
"Razna", poem for wind orchestra (1940)
Duration: 9 minutes 30 seconds.
"Solemn Prelude (Sviniga preludija)" for symphony orchestra (1940)
Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds.
Festive Prologue for orchestra (1940)

Symphony No. 4 "Atlantis" in E flat minor for orchestra and women's chorus (1941)

Duration: 42 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 25011: Latvian Radio Orchestra, T. Kalnins Chorus, E. Tons (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2007: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Women`s Choir Dzintars, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)

"Land of Mara (Maras zeme)" for voice and accompaniment (1943)

Symphony No. 5 in C major (1945)

Duration: 48 minutes.

LP Melodiya CM 02029-30: Latvian Radio SO, L. Reiters (cond)
CD Marco Polo 8.223331: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Yablonsky (cond)

String Quartet No. 2 in C minor (1946)
Duration: 29 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 24521-2: Y. Shvolkovsky & L. Girska (violins), A. Senakols (viola), N. Villerush (cello)

Variations for piano in E minor (1948)
Duration: 7 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 10279-80: K. Blumenthal (piano)
LP Melodiya D 1570-71: P. Pechersky (piano)

Symphony No. 6 "Latvian" (1949)
Duration: 34 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 013-14: Latvian Radio SO, L. Vigners (cond)
LP Melodiya D 16429-30: Latvian Radio SO, L. Vigners (cond)

Concerto for violin and orchestra (1951)
Duration: 30 minutes.

LP Melodiya C 01475-6: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond), Svolkovskis (violin)
CD Campion CAMEO 2004: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky (cond), Valdis Zarins (violin)

Five Preludes for piano (1952)
Duration: 5 minutes.
Symphony No. 7 in C minor (1953)
Duration: 36 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 03920-21: Latvian Radio and TV SO, L. Vigners (cond)

Music to the film "The Fisherman’s Son (Zvejnieka dels), suite for symphony orchestra (1956)
Duration: 11 minutes.
Music Paintings from the film "Frost in Spring (Salna pavasari)", suite for symphony orchestra (1956)
Duration: 22 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 004830-1: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2012: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (cond)
CD UPE Classics 750404001726: (Introduction & Waltz) Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Imants Resnis (conductor)

Symphony No. 8 in B minor (1956)
Duration: 33 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 7041-2: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2012: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Edgar Tons (cond)
CD Naxos 8.555740: Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky (cond)

"Bear-Ripper (Lacplesis)", symphonic poem (1957)
Duration: 14 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 13263-4: Latvian State Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2012: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Vassily Sinaisky (cond)

Concerto for piano and orchestra in G minor (1959)
Duration: 26 minutes.
Also arrangement for two pianos.
LP Melodiya D 07267-68: Latvian Radio SO, Edgar Tons (cond), K. Blumental (piano)
LP Melodiya CM 02743-44: Latvian TV and Radio SO< C. Krikis (cond), N. Fedorovskis (piano)
CD Campion CAMEO 2013: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Vassili Sinaisky (cond), Igor Zhukov (piano)
Variations - Etudes in F sharp minor for piano (1959)

Duration: 7 minutes.
Symphony No. 9 (1960)
Duration: 32 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 7881-2: Latvian State Philharmonic SO, E. Tons (cond)

Andante for cello quartet (1961)
Duration: 6 minutes.

LP Melodiya C 01407-8: Latvian SSR State Philharmonic Cellists Ensemble, E. Bertovskis (cond)
LP Melodiya C 01475-6: Latvian SSR State Philharmonic Cellists Ensemble, E. Bertovskis (cond)
LP Melodiya D 23877-8: Latvian SSR State Philharmonic Cellists Ensemble, E. Bertovskis (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2013: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Tovijs Lifsics (cond)

String Quartet No. 3 (1961)
Duration: 26 minutes.

LP Melodiya 022177-8: V. Berg & V. Stabulniek (violins), Y. Madrevich (viola), M. Gruenberg (cello)

"Sonata Brevis" for piano (1962)

Duration: 10 minutes.

LP Melodiya 022177-8: D. Vilipa (piano)

"Novella Brevis" for brass band (1962)
LP Melodiya C10 20451: Brass Band "Riga", G. Ordelovskis (cond)
Poema Capricciosa for violin and piano (1963)
Version for cello and piano.
Duration: 8 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 24393: M. Villerush (cello), V. Yantsis (piano)

Symphony No. 10 (1963)
Duration: 30 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 18141-2: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond)
CD Campion CAMEO 2013: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Edgar Tons (cond)

Vocalisations for mixed choir (1964)
1. An Autumn Song (Rudens dziesma) – 4 minutes
2. Migratory Birds (Gajputni) – 3 minutes 30 seconds
3. A Rainy Day (Lietaina diena) – 3 minutes 30 seconds
4. Cumulus (Gubu makoni) – 4 minutes
5. A Drawing (Zimejums) – 3 minutes 30 seconds
6. Mist (Migla) – 3 minutes 30 seconds
7. A Native Landscape (Dzimtenes ainava) – 3 minutes
8. Memory of the Heroes (Varonu pieminai) – 3 minutes
9. A Prelude (Preludija) – 3 minutes 30 seconds
10. A Wintry Morning (Ziemas rits) – 3 minutes
11. An Elegy (Elegija) – 4 minutes
12. Devotion (Jusma) – 2 minutes 30 seconds

CD AG 9505: Riga Chamber Choir Ave Sol, Imants Kokars (cond)

"Andante Replicato" for piano (1963)
LP Melodiya D 022177-8: D. Vilipa (piano)
Symphony No. 11 in E flat major(1965)
Duration: 31 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 23877-78: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond)
LP Melodiya C 01407-8: Latvian Radio SO, E. Tons (cond)

Twenty-four Sketches for piano (1966)
Duration: 65 minutes.

LP Melodiya 022177-8: (Three Sketches) D. Vilipa (piano)
LP Melodiya CM 02373-4: (Three Sketches) N. Federovsky (piano)

"Sorrowful Poem (Poema Luttuosa)" for string orchestra (1966)
Duration: 13 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 23099-100: Latvian Radio String Group, L. Vigners (cond)
LP Melodiya CM 04223-4: Latvian Radio String Group, L. Vigners (cond)

Symphony No. 12 "Simfonia Energica"(1967)
Duration: 24 minutes.

LP Melodiya D 24863-4: Latvian Radio and TV SO, L. Vigners (cond)
CD Marco Polo 8.223331: Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Yablonsky (cond)

Symphony No. 13 "Symphonia Humana" (1969)
Duration: 33 minutes.

LP Melodiya: Latvian SO, A. Vilumanis (cond)

Symphony No. 14 "Sinfonia da camera" for string orchestra (1971)
Duration: 22 minutes.

LP Melodiya CM 3103
CD LMIC CD 2005: Orchestra Sinfonia Concertante, Andris Vecumnieks (cond)

Symphony No. 15 "Sinfonia Ipsa" (1972)
Duration: 30 minutes.

LP Melodiya CM 04223-4: Latvian Radio and TV SO, E. Klas (cond)

Three exercises for piano, sonatina for piano (1973)
Duration: 5 minutes.
Poem for chamber orchestra and chamber choir (1973)
Duration: 11 minutes 30 seconds.
Symphony No. 16 (1974)
Duration: 31 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 05961-2: Latvian Radio and TV SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)

Trio for violin, cello and piano (1976)
Duration: 19 minutes.
Symphony No. 17 in C major (1976)
Duration: 31 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 13263-4: Latvian SSR State SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)

Sinfonietta for string orchestra (1977)
Duration: 11 minutes.
Symphony No. 18 (1977)
Duration: 32 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 16527-8: Latvian SSR State SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)

"Song (Dziesma), poem for choir and orchestra (1978)
Duration: 10 minutes 30 seconds.
Symphony No. 19 (1979)
Duration: 37 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 18421-2: Latvian SSR State SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)

Symphony No. 20 (1981)
Duration: 26 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 20451: Latvian SSR State SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)
CD Naxos 8.555740: Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky (cond)

Five Preludes for piano (1982)
Duration: 11 minutes.

LP Melodiya CM 02373-4: N. Federovsky (piano)
LP Melodiya D 006255-6: K. Blumenthal (piano)

Symphony No. 21 (1983)
Duration: 23 minutes.

LP Melodiya C10 25349: Latvian SSR State SO, V. Sinaisky (cond)

Symphony No. 22 (1982)
Unfinished.

Other Works:

"Blue Lake", symphonic poem
LP Melodiya D 2334-5: Latvian Radio Orchestra, L. Vigners (cond)
Chamber Symphony
LP Melodiya CM 03103-4: Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Lifshits (cond)

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