It might be said that Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks (born 1946) writes music with heart. Man’s inhumanity to man and man’s precarious balancing act with nature are themes which run throughout his music. Growing up behind the Iron Curtain and in a Soviet satellite country, Vasks experienced first-hand the soul-destroying conditions of the authoritarian state. In light of this, the struggle of the Latvian people is a cause which he holds dear. But in addition to nationalist impulses and Cold War experiences, Vasks is also driven by what he believes to be the spiritual impoverishment of contemporary society. As he put it: “Most people today no longer possess beliefs, love and ideals. The spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul.” His works include Musica dolorosa, the violin concerto Distant Light and three symphonies.

© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra