Distant Light – Music for Trumpet and Organ

Latvian trumpet player Jānis Porietis writes below about his new recording with Ilze Reine on organ, Distant Light featuring music exclusively by Latvian composers:

I am incredibly pleased to finally have a CD with Latvian composer music for trumpet and organ. All, but two pieces – Gloria (1989) and Larghetto (1982), have been commissioned in the last six years. If my memory serves me well, I believe that my organist, Ilze Reine, had the idea of making a collection of pieces based on the format of a Missa brevis and since we already had Maija Einfeldes’ Gloria in our repertoire, it seemed as if we are on a good path. We approached two other composers who each wrote two other parts for the mass. Maija Einfelde really likes the trumpet, and she enjoys my playing, so she wanted to compose a piece for me for which I am very grateful to her. The story behind it is very sad and tragic, and I will not divulge into details, because she didn’t want the story to be public, however she told me so that I would get a better understanding and the significance of the work and get the right mindset of performing it. Another occasion of acquiring music was with Romualds Jermaks. He was kind enough to gift us one of his works. It happened after a concert at the Doms Cathedral. He came up to greet me an Ilze and then gave us Lux Aeterna, possibly my favorite. Fun fact, me and his son went to school together and he was also a trumpet player and I remember Jermaks writing pieces for him to play at juries. We are still good friends, maybe because he quit trumpet and found his real passion (haha).

The recording process was very tricky since the Cathedrals’ times were extremely limited as well as our sound engineers’ Varis Kurmiņš. On top of that I had to do some negotiating with the surrounding pubs and often, during the recording session I had to go and politely ask if they would not mind turning the volume of the music down, because as we know, microphones are very unforgiving. I believe that even on one occasion we had to cut the session short. Now that all has been done and I listen to the recording, one can tell that Latvian composers have a specific touch, no matter if the music is secular or spiritual, it all blends well together.

Since trumpet is such a blessed instrument in its ability to be diverse in all styles and genres, there are also plenty of options to change between different instruments and in this case those were – C, Bb trumpet, piccolo and flugelhorn. As I am writing these words and thinking which would be my favorite, I realize this to be an exceedingly difficult question to answer. I suppose a lot of it depends on the piece I am playing. It is great to have the possibility to go from one instrument to another, because it gives the listener the chance to enjoy different frequencies and, in a way, rest their ear. Also, for me as a performer, it makes things more interesting. Sure, traveling around with that setup might not be as interesting. Also, since for some years now, I have been doing photography professionally, my camera bag is a part of me as well, so on occasion I might look like a lost hiker instead of somebody who has come to play a concert.

Speaking of photography, all the photography that is used for the CD is by me, apart from the photo of me in the woods. Pretty much all my portraits I do on my own, but this one would have been a tough cookie to crack, so I am incredibly grateful to my friend Ilona Bērziņa who helped me achieve my vision. This and the cover photo both were taken in the forest on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The trumpet lineup idea had been circulating in my head for a while so I really wanted to materialize that and so I did, and I am glad I could put that on the cover. One might ask, why all the trumpets on the cover, if only four were used. Well…why not? To be honest, that photo took some time to do, because the right spot had to be found that can accommodate all the horns and to have the right lighting, which in this case was a combination of natural and artificial. There was an idea of a photo of me decorating the front of the CD, but somehow, I did not feel the urge to do that. The intention was to make it very Latvian, not just the music, but the whole design as well. Latvia has a lot of land covered in forests and I thought it would be very fitting to show that and I believe that it fits the mood of the music as well. A huge thanks goes out to the record label SKANI and personally to Egīls Šēfers for making all of this happen!

The title Distant Light came somewhat easy to me, because I feel as if the music can be sometimes sad, but also give inner piece, a longing for something that will bring hope and have ourselves be open to infinite possibilities of life.

Jānis Porietis

Please click here for further information about this album.


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