Composers and Authors /

Feils, Alfrēds (1902 - 1942)

Biography   Works  

Composer, organist, teacher and conductor – graduated in theory of composition and organ performance from the LC in 1928, and studied percussion instrument performance as well. He worked mainly in Daugavpils – as lecturer at the Latgale College of Music (from 1930) and later its director (1932–1941), as organist, and as conductor of the Daugavpils Latvian Society Choir – and was the heart and soul of the musical life of this town and surrounding region. He was also one of the leading organizers of the 3rd Song Festival of Latgale in the Summer of 1940. In June 1941, on the basis of fictitious accusations, he was arrested and sent to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, where he perished.
Feils is known mainly for his choral works (some 100 songs, including 25 folk song arrangements), but he also composed works for piano, brass band, solo voice, etc. His choral music often tends to be chorale-like and pious, much of it composed to religious poetry. In the best of his choral compositions, however, with the aid of carefully chosen and colourful harmonic language, their chorale-like nature becomes poetically contemplative and artistically effective.
Many of his works were lost during the war. The largest collection of his works can be found in his Septiņpadsmit dziesmas koriem [17 Songs for Choir], issued in Rīga in 1937. In his folk song arran-gements Feils develops the approach to this genre taken by Emilis Melngailis and Jēkabs Graubiņš, both in his use of natural diatonic scales and also in the free use of compositional technique and the virtuosic and descriptive nature of his writing. Here Feils shows himself to be an intelligent musician not prone to excesses, skilful in handling compositional technique and able to realize his expressive ideas.

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