Pēteris Vasks was born in 1946 in Latvia and by 1970 he was already an excellent violin and double bass player. Between 1973 and 1978 he studied composition, but it was only after the fall of the Berlin Wall that his gifts started being appreciated. Since 1994, he has been an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, and in 1996 he was named the "main composer" at the Stockholm Festival of New Music.
A resident of Riga, Vasks is held in high esteem in the former Soviet state and his works are much sought after all throughout the continent. His 1985 "Episodi" was written as homage to Oliver Messiaen and is full of a yearning for freedom that is understandable in those years behind the Iron Curtain.
The six-part Quartet is an impressive work altogether, full of emotional tension and anguish that are almost hammer blow like in scope and power. It goes without saying that the well established Trio Parnassus play both works with authority and masterly ability aided by the violist Avri Levitan who is also a top-class player.
Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech