Photos: Andris Sprogis
30 May 2013 -
Rarely do I get to perform for a crowd of 750 Christian leaders, philosophers, scientists, European policy-makers and other unique people! Such was my privilege in the European Leadership Forum this week. Even more so, discussing the big questions of today with these people clarified some deeply distressing issues for me – at least, for now. The sinking-in will necessarily follow with the help of a ton of books I bought to fill my already heavy suitcase.
The main outcome from this Forum right now is that I am encouraged to continue and to purposefully develop what I am already doing. I hope this will bring a great harvest for the blessing of all of you who read this.
CIRCUS&MAGIC video clip
20 May 2013 -
Check this out! This short video was shot in the studio after we had finished recording the CIRCUS&MAGIC album. My producer and engineer both lent their iPhones for the purpose. I particularly liked when we did the up-close takes and the over-head ones with the microphone stand expanded to its utmost. You might notice how those shots slightly vibrate because of, I suppose, me playing rather strongly and creating a local floorquake. Anyhow, it was so much joy – to end a three-day session with this running around with iPhones, playing Petrushka 6 more times, eating some Pringles in the studio (psst, don’t tell the owners), shaking hands – and then suddenly dispersing each to his next project, as if all of this was just some fleeting dream.
Vītols CD is out today! -
1 May 2013
Today is the release date of my latest album: it is Piano works by Jāzeps Vītols (Champs Hill Records). I am very happy to be able to touch and see this final product because the way to it was rather long and complicated. But I’m happy now.
I think the best part of the way was the chance to read through the entire solo piano output of Vītols. It gave me a wide-angle landscape and helped to see various contexts within which Vītols was operating in his day. It also helped to read some articles about him and of course his autobiography. But I must say that the music revealed the same – and more! than the words. Yes, I guess the bit I loved most was the freedom to choose whatever I like. I could take his most famous works, or the long opuses only, or the short ones, or even only the obscure ones. Admittedly, I chose a combination of all of these.
I feel a richer man now, that I know this music. I hope you get to hear it, too.
More details here
1 April 2013 -
Exatly one week ago I came up with a grand idea to memorize a Bartok concerto in four days. The reason being the Easter weekend’s approach – and Easter is not the time to do the usual everyday work, I should say. So four workdays only. In fact, I happily finished the memorization by Tuesday evening and spent the other two days confirming and repairing what my brain had taken in. But then I went home and fell down with a high fever and strong shivers, and even today am half-alive. What’s the lesson? God, what an irrational being I am!
Oxford goes Latvian!
19 February 2013
That’s true! I don’t know when was the last time something like this was allowed to take place in the truly historic Holywell Music Room in Oxford, but this time it really is being warmly welcomed! What I am talking about is the recital of purely and exclusively Latvian piano music that will happen there on 1 March 19h30. I am very grateful to James Soper, the president of Oxford Latvian Society, who came up with such an idea! Since it’s my passion to introduce my audiences to brilliant new music, this is just the right thing for my sweet tooth, all the more so by being a chance to investigate what good my compatriots have created over the past century or so.
And it’s for free, if you want to know. Tickets are free, or, rather, there won’t be any tickets! Hurrah! Long live free entry!
So here’s what I’m preparing for it:
Jazeps Vitols’ Variations on a Latvian folk-song – a monumental work; his Sonatina – excellent, concise writing with Straussian and Rachmaninovian overtones; his famous Song of the Waves coupled with another sea piece.
Then an incomparable piece by G.Pelecis dealing with the joy of traditional winter-solstice feast. Then two miniatures by P.Vasks and I.Zemzaris. And last but by no means least, Kenins’ portrait of Schumann, and of himself, and of humanity in general, may I say?
Here’s the place on googlemaps. See you there!
NEW ALBUM CIRCUS & MAGIC OUT NOW!
That’s right! Now that I have finally seen and listened to it myself, I can write about it without trembling. The recording process was something to remember. First, the location – Champs Hill Music room in West Sussex – is a marvel. It is enveloped by gardens and woods and wonderful sculptures, and there is collection of paintings, from different periods, exhibited in the Music room itself. Plus, there are all sorts of birds singing their praises (and some crows grumbling on rainier days) outside the hall, inspiring one’s music-making, though skilfully escaping microphones’ notice. The airplanes crossing over were not that welcome interruptions, however, since their engines’ low frequencies would be clearly noticeable on the tape.
Location and instrument (this time, a Steinway D with a big heart) is nothing without the crew. My producer Matthew Dilley and engineer Richard Bland turned out to be the A-team. Their refined methods of working, their unobtrusive manner and their obvious willingness to serve – the composer and the interpreter alike – are something of a rarity these days.
We had three full days booked for this recording and good we had them, because things tend to happen, and they did with us: on the second day, immediately after our lunch, when our tuner had left for the day, just as I began to warm up for Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Matt (the producer) mentioned in a calm ’by-the-way’ voice that my middle G is rather out of tune. It soon started to look like an emergency situation, since our tuner had his mobile switched off and anyway had gone down to work in Brighton that evening, besides no-one in London could be sent down to us, and neither could we tune that bloody G ourselves!
Since this was my first studio recording, I had carefully planned what I would record on which day, so that I could manage all in a calm pace and still would have time left to rework things if needed. Now this plan was for rats. Nerve-wracking it was. But we prayed, and I spent the rest of the day reading a book in the beautiful garden and walking through the fields. Of course, the third day was a tough one, with all Prokofiev, Ligeti, one Debussy and Stravinsky to fit in, plus to make a short video (it will be posted soon). We finished 20 minutes before my train to London.
Remembering all of it now brings only a smile to me. I must admit that I like what came out of it all. I hope you do too. Please, write to me any comments this album makes you have! First time is first time.
Buy it on Amazon
or read the booklet and download separate tracks on http://www.champshillrecords.co.uk/
NEW RECORDINGS -
1 November 2012
I have just added a dozen of new recordings in the AUDIO section. Please take some time to check them out! There’s not only solo stuff but concerti and chamber music as well!
30 October 2012 -
Today I was working with the manuscript of E. Bloch’s Four Circus pieces. Bloch wanted for this opus to remain as his personal home music-making thing, playing while shouting funny comments at the same time. Luckily and finally, Bloch’s publisher kindly allowed me to have the unpublished material for proofreading, performances and a subsequent edition.
So far I have performed them funny pieces a couple of times and also recorded them in Circus & Magic (check out: http://www.mdt.co.uk/zarins-reinis-circus-and-magic-champs-hill-records.html and soon on Amazon and such), but what bothers me is the manuscript. I received it only after recording the opus. And now – alas! – I see that one can read it in other ways as well. It’s not all black and white, abc. What a dilemma it must be to prepare proofs – for that means deciding on a single truth. Whereas now I see that one can play these pieces every time differently – and still according to the manuscript!
If you wish to hear a version of these comic pieces live, I’ll be promptly delivering them on 21 November 7:30pm in Wigmore Hall (London). For Wigmore, at least, it will be the first hearing ever.
29 October 2012 –
Once in a while I get my hands on a fiction and even make the time to open it and read it. Recently I totally absorbed myself in another masterpiece carefully crafted by Ian McEwan. His Atonement became a great movie a few years ago, though the book is definitely greater. Anyhow, this time I read his Solar. And what a penetrating eye McEwan has! Though his hero (actually a total antihero) is shown as obnoxious as person can be (it seemed to me), the author goes on to reveal more and more of his hero’s inner thoughts – and catches me! What a funny feeling it is when I recognize myself in those thought patterns, in those mental actions that no-one should know about. Although it is the “hero” that we are supposed to feel disgusted about, it also seems that the reader is supposed to become more and more disgusted with himself – that is, if he does recognize himself in that ugly hero. Clearly, it’s not a new trick for writers, maybe only the surgical openness of thought processes is linked with our freedom of speech age.
But I wonder about this one thing: How can people leave it at that, and not do all to find a way out? I mean, if we realize how fake we can be, wouldn’t you want to not be? I would! McEwan shows how ugly his hero is – and leaves him in the most absolute mess! Similarly, most people at a certain point admit (even if only to themselves) that their innermost thoughts often are not what they would want to be announced from loudspeakers, but that’s it! They would leave it as it is, as if saying “Well, I’m not perfect, but who is?”
I believe there is a way – a difficult way – out of my inborn inconsistency. And maybe there are several ways. But let us not get stuck at our more sour self-revelations and rather use them to step up!
22 September 2012 -
I have been absent from here due to a variety of reasons, but I am glad to be back and share a bit of what’s going on with the musical part of my life.
I am about to record a disc that is going to be a ‘total immersion’ – and indeed I am being totally immersed as never before! It’s all about Jazeps Vitols. He was born almost 150 years ago in Latvia, and his cultural and artistic activities at the time were such, that he now can safely be called the most important musician of the first half of 20th c. in Latvian classical music. He played a great role in helping the Latvian National Song festival become a treasured tradition among Latvians. More importantly, he became the first rector of the Latvian Music Conservatoire, the first and only national institution of the kind, even to this day. He also taught composition throughout his life, influencing hundreds of future composers, including Myaskovsky and Prokofiev.
I have had the privilege to read through all of his pieces for piano solo, and I am so jolly happy to do this! The best part is that I can choose what I think are his best works, but also keep some on the hedge, to see how it all fill fit into a coherent program. To me, his gems are tiny miniatures – folk song arrangements or just preludes and such. He is an absolute master in depicting certain mood with just a few notes. He uses very simple, but well-tried compositional methods, and I love that! I think this music is totally worth the effort, and I hope to bring it to a concert hall somewhere pretty soon. Keep an eye on the Calendar section!
21 July 2012 -
Yesterday I had the privilege to perform in a small church in Kuldiga, Latvia. There, an 18-months old was sitting on the lap of her father for the very first time in a classical music concert. She gave sound replicas whenever I had a pause – and sat quiet whenever I played. Apart from drawing out my smile, she also made me wonder how sensitive and understanding children – infants! – can be, if we let them. The usual concert-hall audience would of course not tolerate such an outrageous behaviour. But which is more important?
If you are in Latvia on 29 July, please visit Ventspils Baptist Church on 5pm. There I will be performing timeless works from three centuries. That will be the proper baptism of their newly-acquired grand piano. And yes, children are welcome
6 July 2012 -
Hectic last days of prep for Kremerata Baltica Festival in Sigulda and Riga. The conductor Johanna Malvic has been caught ill, so our own Andris Poga has agreed to step in! On Sunday and Monday, he will be conducting works by M.Weinberg and A.Schnittke. Today, we rehearsed these works for the first time, and Andris, having received the scores only last night, displayed brilliant command and understanding of the music.
My part is to play Weinberg’s Children Notebooks on Saturday and Schnittke’s Concerto for piano and strings on Monday. Weinberg is a revelation to me. First of all, it’s Gidon Kremer’s idea to present Weinberg’s music in this festival. Weinberg’s oeuvre has been obscured by his senior contemporary Shostakovich, but wrongly so, because with proper study, one sees how incredibly interesting and engaging Weinberg’s scores are. Anyhow, after a desperate search of any single Weinberg score in London, I found his publisher peerMusic in the States and now am the proud owner of his Children’s Notebooks (which cost me a fortune). I love the first of them the most, and will perform it in Sigulda’s wonderful concert hall Baltais Flīģelis on Saturday 7pm. G.Kremer will be performing there and then as well, together with Daniil Trifonov.
Schnittke’s Concerto took my heart instantly when I heard it for the first time a few years ago. It’s a poignant, explosive work which speaks to all peoples. I am awed by Schnittke’s skill to use “familiar” materials to achieve such emotional energy – cathedral bells, orthodox chants, a priest’s vocalization of the liturgy juxtaposed by jazz, waltzes and Czerni exercises. With Schnittke and with him only, this sounds not only convincing, it’s totally absorbing experience!
2 June 2012 -
I am terribly excited to be playing a new programme again! This time, it has to do with circus and magical stuff. You can come to hear it live in Guildhall, Bath, UK on 5 June 12noon or, if no time for such holidays, flip on the BBC Radio 3 InTune 16:30-18:30 on Monday 4 June! I will be there, playing for you live from Bath and being interviewed a bit as well. Here’s the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/
11 May 2012 -
On 12 May 3:25pm (GMT), I will perform in the Semi-Finals for Dublin International Piano Competition. If you would like to listen in, please follow the link below for a live streaming out of the National Concert Hall in Dublin. I will perform B. O’Byrne’s Rhapsody on an Irish folksong and Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata.
(click on LIVE STREAMING on the left side)
1 May 2012 -
I am off to Dublin. The past month has been totally given to the preparation of four rounds of repertoire for Dublin International Piano Competition. This one differs from most contests in that it gives 90% freedom to the contestants regarding the repertoire. One can avoid the usual competition playing here. I like it. I never liked the traditional stuff – 3 etudes, Bach prelude+fugue, etc.
Anyhow, here is something that I wish for, and that you can wish me as I compete:
St.Paul writes: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
I wish that I would desire this imperishable wreath more than those that men give each other.
7 March 2012 -
Celebration! Hurray! Last night, I was awarded the Great Music Award of Latvia, the highest national recognition in the classical music field! It was for Outstanding Interpretation on three occasions in 2011 – a solo recital, a concerto (with Sinfonietta Riga and Ariel Zuckermann) and a violin-piano duo-recital “A Frenchman in America”.
I am so thankful to my fans, teachers, the warm Latvian audiences, and, of course, the distinguished jury, for voting for me. I am grateful to my dear family for serving me so much. Above and beyond all these, my thanks are to the Lord Jesus who is the source of all that I am and have. His ways are so wonderful.
Another wonder was the fact that Paula Sumane, the violinist I played “A Frenchman in America” with, also got that Award, as the Debut of the year, for that same concert! Amazing! Do check out her videos on YouTube, especially the www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Hy70DH4dU which I incidentally had the privilege of filming with my soap-box on the edge of a cliff.
Here is the official description of the Award:
The Great Music Award (LMB) is the supreme Latvian state award in music.
In 1993, on the initiative of the then Minister of Culture, Raimonds Pauls, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia decided to mark each year’s major achievements in the concert life of our country with a special award. This gave start to a tradition which has developed into an event which is fervently looked forward both by the musicians themselves and the audiences. This was clearly seen in the full Great Guild Hall in the first years of the award (1993…1995). Since 1996, the award ceremony takes place at the Latvian National Opera. The ceremony is broadcast on the radio and on television.
The high prestige of the Great Music Award both in wider community and in musical circles is ensured by the work of a respectable jury. All through the year, the members of the jury attend concerts and hold monthly meetings, taking minutes each time. In 2007, it was decided to announce the nominees at a special Ministry of Culture press conference in early January while the actual holders of the prize are to be made known during the award ceremony. This means that the voting on the nominees takes place in January whereas the voting on the prize holders takes place on the very day of the award ceremony.
An artistically valuable and essential part of the Great Music Award is the trophy itself, a silver statuette made by artist Armands Jēkabsons. The laconic-shaped, exquisite silver figurine easily and beautifully joins stage design or becomes a graphical symbol.
The Great Music Award ceremony is organised by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia and Latvijas Koncerti ( www.muzikasbalva.lv).
23, 24 February 2012 -
A discovery of grand proportions for me: Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms played in a four-hand piano version! This is such a Music. It’s difficult to find appropriate words to describe the emotions that overwhelm me when I play it… Anyway, I will get to play this wonder with some world-class musicians, like Egils Silins, Inga Kalna, Diana Ketler, in Ventspils and Riga on 23 and 24 Feb. Check the CALENDAR for more details and see you there!
January 2012 -
After a much-needed rest, I am joyfully preparing my next projects. On the 26th of January, a one-of-a-kind cellist Matthew Barley (www.matthewbarley.com) and I will perform a recital in the smaller hall of Amsterdam Concertgebouw, as a part of the concert-series Tracks. We will play standard repertoire alongside some rare gems, like Tsintsadze’s pieces on folk tunes.
Another project that I will be rehearsing in the first week of this new year, is a 2+2 project – it’s a shorthand for my main Hodgson Fellowship project, a concert for two pianos and percussion music on the Valentine’s day! Although the music created for this instrumentation is superb, practical complexities are also unavoidable, i.e., getting all those percussion instruments in one room plus two pianos, and have them there for, say, 3-4 days, to get the program ready. Such challenges often put musicians off from doing this stuff – but it’s truly superb! And what is more, a young, talented British composer Joseph Davies is writing another addition to “2+2″ repertoire this very moment! So definitely come on Valentine’s day to Royal Academy, Duke’s Hall, for a powerhouse concert.
10 November -
A FRENCHMAN IN AMERICA:
I have been very much looking forward to this! A mixture of seemingly unrelated works by two Frenchmen and two Americans, this program was born one night a year ago and now it has acquired beautiful colours and meaning. Paula Šūmane is a rare violinist whom I had the privilege of playing with in Cape Town last year, and our common faith strengthens our music-making immensely. We will play Ravel’s Sonata and Messiaen’s Theme et Variations, then take a deep breath, and then resume with Corigliano’s exuberant Sonata. Wish for even more? Well then, Fantasy on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess ought to be an appropriate dessert!
http://www.latvijaskoncerti.lv/lv/news/134 for 10 Nov
9 October -
I will perform Smetana’s Czech Dances again! In Dresden, a recital has been organized for me as the winner of Smetana Competition. That competition was a while ago, but Smetana’s dances are still those same wild jewels I came to know back in 2004 and, more recently, in Yale in 2009, preparing for a lecture. In Dresden, Smetana will be shouldered with Schubert’s youthful explorations in his Sonata D575, and Liszt’s shorter works. If you happen to be there on 9 Oct 3pm, come! http://www.hdk-dkk.de/Html/portalseite_eng.html
4 October -
Today I had the privilege to perform in a public masterclass for Dame Fanny Waterman. Well, I must say, she is a Dame! Her acute ears revealed to me many new ways I can take. It is quite impossible to resist her charming authoritativeness, especially knowing her age. Thank you, Dame Fanny, and good health to you, to gift many more, as you gifted me today.
20 August – 12 September, 2011 -
Reinis IS performing alongside Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Ensemble Intercontemporain, with the legendary Pierre Boulez and Peter Eotvos as conductors.
On Friday night, 2 September, in the Concert Hall of KKL Luzern (Swiss), we will perform Boulez’s Eclat/Multiples after two weeks of stressful rehearsals. Now it is in a great, if a bit uptight, shape, ready to be played under the composer’s exacting hands.
On 8 September, in the same Concert Hall (KKL), we will perform Boulez’s Pli Selon Pli: A Portrait of Mallarme. This is arguably the magnum opus of Boulez, absolutely deserving all the energy we have put into its preparation. Yesterday and today, the fearless soprano Barbara Hannigan (http://www.barbarahannigan.com/) joined us in the rehearsals, captivating us with her magical voice. In the meanwhile, I have enjoyed meeting S.Rattle, P.Eotvos and D.Barenboim, who all have come to see our rehearsals and masterclasses.
September 13, 2011 -
10:00 – 13:00 I will perform in an open masterclass alongside other pianists in the Royal Academy of Music, Duke’s Hall. The class will be led by the new Head of Keyboard Department JOANNA MACGREGOR. I will play Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz and “Cypresses of Villa d’Este I”. This event is part of the Keyboard Open Day at the Academy.
September, 2011 -
Reinis Zariņš is a Hodgson Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music in 2011/12. In this capacity, he will perform, lecture and teach in the Academy. Please, do visit the ‘Calendar’ section often to see what’s coming up.