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Mediņš, Jāzeps (1877 - 1947)

Biography   Works  

Versatile musician, composer, conductor and teacher – played an active part in the development of Latvian music. His younger brothers, Jānis Mediņš and Jēkabs Mediņš, are also well-known composers.
His talent is expressed most vividly in orchestral music (3 symphonies and over 20 other orchestral works – symphonic poems, suites, a violin concerto, a cello concerto) and opera. His contribution to other genres is also significant: it includes vocal music (over 100 songs for solo voice), cantatas and instrumental chamber music (works for both solo instrument and piano, and ensemble). After graduating in 1896 from the 1st Riga Music College (1. Rīgas Mūzikas institūts), Mediņš was invited to stay on to teach there, later becoming its director (1901–1906). He worked in orchestras (primarily opera) first as player (from 1891), and later as conductor (1906–1925), both in Latvia and abroad. He was conductor at the Baku Opera House in Azerbaijan from 1916 to 1922.
His choral works (over 100 songs) began to appear relatively late in his career. In the 1920s and 1930s his own style in choral writing was still emerging, initially resembling the contemplative style of his solo songs. It is characterized by broad cantilenas, a chordal texture, and a harmonic language which remains clear and organic, despite its chromaticisms and modulations. He employs a relatively uniform mode of expression in his songs, and his music is romantic and colourful. Picturesque expressiveness, lyrical-epic moods, and the muted colours of the late Romantic style are hallmarks of his musical style. In the post-war years Mediņš began teaching at the LSC and became professor there in 1946. During this period his compositional focus was on choral music.

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