The other night I paused the TV to listen to the cries of migrating birds outside in the dark. There’s something very haunting about that song, so much distance and weather and effort ahead. And yet they fly, obeying a biological imperative. After all, it’s getting cold.
I was introduced to Jānis Ivanovs, Latvian composer, through choir, where we sang his Gājputni (“migratory birds”) one of the first years I was a member. It’s a very moody piece in minor key, and we performed it with great effect during our surprise performance in competition. Since then, his vocalizations (tone poems?) for choir appeal to me most simply due to emotional attachment, despite the fact that he has many symphonic works to his name.
Unfortunately, the migratory birds are too seldom performed to have video available online, so instead, here is my second choice, Rudens dziesma (“autumn song”). (You can always visit the National Library, they have all the vocalizations in archive!)