The Latvian Choral Singers' Songbook (21/06/2016)
"Singing, and especially singing together in multiple voices a cappella is one of the unique Latvian folk traditions which distinguishes us in world culture. We are rightly proud of our Song Festivals, which are undoubtedly the driving force for Latvian music not only in amateur circles but also in professional, academic music. Singing and choral singing is the source from which we draw our Latvian identity: through Latvian folksongs and their arrangements - Latvian virtues, respect for folk traditions and history, and through Latvian classical choral pieces - a love of Latvian nature, people and, in the end, Latvia as a nation, which is like no other.
Time goes on, generations change, as do priorities, which sadly tends to affect the number of singers negatively. Just as changeable is the Song Festival repertoire which, despite being compiled from classics which have stood the test of time as well as new works, doesn't always reach the heart (and voice) of the singers. Presumably the solution to this problem lies in the proportion of new choir songs to the proven Latvian classic choral pieces and folksong arrangements.
This collection has been created to encourage each get-together to become a small (or big) Song Festival. The basis of the repertoire has been taken from a specific tradition -the Sējāns' Midsummer celebration in Jūrmala, where a cappella singing is one of the main components of the celebration - Midsummer songs, classic Latvian folksong arrangements and original compositions are sung. Bearing in mind that it is hard to predict how many singers will join in, it is difficult to know what the repertoire will be, but by experience only a couple of stable singers are needed in each voice group for everyone else to quickly join in. There always comes a moment when the boys want to sing something separate, and of course the girls want to answer them, and so this book also contains songs for separate male and female choirs.
If the contents of this book had to be described in a few words, then the title of this book could be The Bare Minimum for Latvian Choral Singers, or songs which have mostly been sung both at the Latvian Song Festival and the Sējāns Midsummer celebrations, songs which most people (potentially) should know off by heart so that, should a gathering of Latvians occur, they can be sung. The necessity for this song book is evident when (especially younger) people who would love to join in the singing are prevented from doing so because the most well known choral pieces haven't settled in their memory yet. And so begins the search for music in Song Festival booklets, other publications, the internet etc. This collection is an answer to this problem - at last everything is in one place - The Latvian Choral Singers' Songbook.
May everyone have tuneful holidays - at Midsummer, other solstices, birthdays, or simple gatherings, all of which need a bit of choral singing!"
The Songbook costs 3 EUR.