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Works by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds have been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Utah Symphony and the Britten Sinfonia. He has written for The King’s Singers, Latvian Voices, The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, The Holst Singers, Imogen Heap, Polyphony and numerous choirs in the US.

This month’s new album of his music features seven of his choral works on the idea of ‘translation’, or the transformations that occur within us when we encounter the power of nature. Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen, whose poetry is set on the first two tracks of this album, gives context:

‘Art is translation. Art translates the ineffable into what we can see and hear, what we can experience, what touches us. Art translates mystery for us without destroying that mystery. As translation, art truly is a vehicle for transformation. Art enters and transforms us: lucky, lucky us.’

Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977)

Portland State Chamber Choir
Ethan Sperry

The multi-award-winning Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds’ 21st-century choral sound is both exquisite and angular, and in this album he explores ideas of ‘translation’, legend and the divine. With his expanded tonality and employment of shimmering singing handbells in Translation, and the angelic use of the viola and cello in In paradisum he creates music of ravishing refinement. In The Legend of the Walled-In Woman Ešenvalds transcribes and employs an authentic Albanian folk song.

Listen to an extract from O salutaris hostia
About the Artists
Ethan Sperry is in his tenth year as director of choral activities at Portland State University, where he conducts its world-renowned chamber choir and leads undergraduate and graduate programmes in conducting. He is also the artistic director and conductor of the Oregon Repertory Singers, one of America’s most distinguished adult choruses.
Since its founding in 1975, the Portland State Chamber Choir has performed and competed in venues across the US and around the world, earning over 30 medals and awards in international choir competitions. In the summer of 2020, they will represent the US at the World Symposium on Choral Music in Auckland, New Zealand.
More recordings of contemporary choral music from Naxos
The Doors of Heaven

Portland State Chamber Choir
‘This is a superb disc, containing impassioned performances, beautifully recorded.’
‘This is an impressive ensemble, always precise and always well-blended.’
Choral Music

Elora Festival Singers
‘[Whitacre] couldn’t have more luminous or illuminating interpreters than the Elora Singers… first-rate performances.’
‘Commotio seems happily involved in all the elements of Chilcott’s music; and there are no problems on the instrumental end either as the sax, drums, bass, and piano are of exceptional quality.’
American Record Guide

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