"Rowland presents the work in an excellent light. His bow technique is superb. This is remarkably sensitive and sympathetic playing. It is clear he has great empathy for the music."Fanfare, 01-3-2021
This CD offers an overview of four of Peteris’s most iconic works, from the large scale, dramatic Violin Concerto ‘Distant light’, and the magically dreamy meditation ‘Lonely Angel’, to his evocation of Latvian landscape and birdsong ‘Plainscapes’ and the extatic ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’.
Daniel Rowland: The first piece by Peteris Vasks that I heard, about a decade ago, was his magnificent Violin Concerto ‘Distant light’, already a modern classic, and I was blown away by the deep emotional impact of this extraordinary music, that seemed to me both wonderfully mysterious, connected to ancient times, touched by a sublime spirituality and at the same time viscerally exciting and with moments of stunning virtuosity. Last summer, when Peteris accepted my invitation to come to the 15th edition of my Stiftfestival in Holland as Composer in Residence I was truly excited at the chance to work closely with him on several of his pieces. At the festival we performed many of Peteris’ works, solo, chamber and orchestral, with wonderful artists. The week culminated with the concert that you now hold in your hands, in the splendid, deeply atmospheric and acoustically wonderful 15th century Plechelmus Basiliek in Oldenzaal.
Pēteris Vasks: Most people today no longer possess beliefs, love and ideals. The spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul and this is what I preach in my works
Dutch/English violinist Daniel Rowland’s playing has been acclaimed as ‘wonderful, ravishing in its finesse’ by The Guardian and as ‘both naked and highly virtuosic’ by NRC Handelsblad, while The Herald praised his ‘astonishing sound and uniquely single-minded intensity’.
Daniel has established himself on the international scene as a highly versatile, communicative, charismatic and adventurous performer, with a broad repertoire from Vivaldi to Van der Aa. In recent seasons Daniel has performed with concertos ranging from Beethoven to Brahms, Elgar, Berg, Korngold, Weinberg and Prokofiev, with conductors such as Heinz Holliger, Jaap van Zweden, François-Xavier Roth, Lawrence Foster, Antony Hermus and Rossen Milanov. He is a passionate advocate of contemporary concertos such as Vasks, Lindberg, Glass, Saariaho, Nisinman and Van der Aa. Recently he premiered Isidora Zebeljan‘s Violin Concerto ‘Three Curious Loves’ and this autumn sees the premiere of Roxanna Panufnik‘s ‘Songs of Love and Friendship’ with the Dutch Radio Choir at the Concertgebouw. September 2020 sees the release of ‘Distant Light’, with violin concertos by Peteris Vasks (Challenge Records).
A passionate chamber musician, Daniel has performed with artists as diverse as Ivry Gitlis, Heinz Holliger, Martha Argerich, Michael Collins, Lars Vogt, Giovanni Sollima, Marcelo Nisinman, Willard White and Elvis Costello. Daniel is one half of acclaimed duo partnerships with pianist Natacha Kudritskaya with whom he earlier recorded for Champs Hill Records a disc dedicated to the Enescu Sonatas (‘a perfect partnership’ – BBC Music Magazine), and with cellist Maja Bogdanovic, whose recent duo CD ‘Pas de deux’ (Challenge Records) was described as ‘a magical meeting between violin and cello’ by Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. In 2005 Daniel founded the Stift International Music Festival in the bucolic region of Twente in the eastern Netherlands, where he grew up, with the 15th century Stiftkerk as the main venue. The festival has garnered acclaim as one of great intimacy, adventure and atmosphere. Daniel was for twelve years the leader of the Brodsky Quartet, performing all over the world, and making numerous recordings, including the celebrated Shostakowitch Cycle.
Daniel was born in London, and started his violin lessons in Enschede after his parents moved to Twente in the eastern Netherlands. He studied with Jan Repko, Davina van Wely, Herman Krebbers, Viktor Liberman, Igor Oistrakh and Ivry Gitlis. His violin is by Lorenzo Storioni (Cremona 1796), and his bow is a Maline, kindly loaned by the Dutch Instrument Foundation. He teaches at the Royal College of Music in London. He lives in Amsterdam with his partner, cellist Maja Bogdanovic´.
Rowland presents the work in an excellent light. His bow technique is superb. This is remarkably sensitive and sympathetic playing. It is clear he has great empathy for the music.
Vask's desolate, contemplative soundworld seems all too appropriate for current times. Rowland captures the spirit with aplomb here.
BBC Music Magazine, 21-1-2021
A heartbreaking rendering combining plainchant with mournful Latvian spirituality makes an appropriate ending.
American Record Guide, 01-1-2021
A compelling performance of this special work in which lyricism reigns supreme.
Music that slides into your ears without resistance.
Het Parool, 04-9-2020
Rowland pays a beautiful ode to Vasks
The performances here seem very fine, and the involvement of Vasks himself ensures their authenticity. [...] The recording is warm and glowing; this is a live recording but no applause is included. There are other recordings of all the works here but not in this combination. Warmly recommended.
Musicweb International, 01-9-2020
The performance by Daniel Rowland and the Stift Festival Orchestra is excellent, but it is no match for this Baltic display of force, especially for the contribution of the orchestra. Vasks' lavish orchestration is in better hands with the Baltic musicians and Kremer's scorching tone almost literally sets the work on fire. Although there is certainly much to be said for the particularly beautiful sound that Rowland elicits from his violin and, despite the many rightly spicy accents, his approach to this work that hints more towards nostalgia and longing.
Opus Klassiek, 01-9-2020
Discover Pēteris Vasks on the particularly beautiful CD, “Distant Light”, by the violinist Daniel Rowland