April 22, 2013

Jānis Mediņš Daina 14

I'm not sure how old I was when I first heard this piece played by Canadian-Latvian pianist, Arturs Ozolins...in my teens, I think. I loved it so much then, and I still do. One of the set of 24 "Dainas" by Latvian composer Jānis Mediņš, which I am making my way through. This #14 continues to be my favourite of all of them, even though there are so many gorgeous pieces in the set.

Jānis Mediņš was born in Riga, Latvia in 1890 and died in 1966 in Sweden. His piano music is richly romantic and capitalizes on the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Dainas are technically folk songs, but these pieces are quite removed from folk music. Still, there is an element of the haunting, deeply-felt lyricism of that genre.

I thought I'd put my iPhone to use today and made a little video of me (well, my hands anyway) playing the piece. The combination of the device and the instrument doesn't quite do it justice, but hopefully it will be enough to give you an idea of how wonderful Jānis Mediņš' music is.

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