Light & Dark (First Solo Organ Recording from the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg) Iveta Apkalna

Cover Light & Dark (First Solo Organ Recording from the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg)

Album info



Label: Berlin Classics

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Instrumental

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975):
  • 1Passacaglia (From "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District", Op. 29)07:18
  • Aivars Kalējs (1951- ):
  • 2Prayer07:40
  • Thierry Escaich (1965- ):
  • 3Évocation I07:20
  • 4Évocation II05:16
  • 5Évocation III09:07
  • Sofia Gubaidulina (1931- ):
  • 6Light and Dark10:24
  • Leoš Janáček (1854-1928):
  • 7Postludium (Organ Solo from Glagolitic Mass)03:02
  • György Ligeti (1923-2006):
  • 8Two Etudes for Organ: I. Harmonies07:17
  • 9Two Etudes for Organ: II. Coulée04:14
  • Lūcija Garūta (1902-1977):
  • 10Meditation05:18
  • Total Runtime01:06:56

Info for Light & Dark (First Solo Organ Recording from the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg)

Since its opening in January 2017, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg has been the cultural landmark of the city. The Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna has made her her new musical home, as Apkalna regularly performs in the Elbphilharmonie as titular organist and knows the spectacular Klais organ in the Great Hall like no other artist. Berlin Classics now presents the world premiere recording of a solo program on the Elbphilharmonie organ with titular organist Iveta Apkalna: "Light & Dark".

The program compiled by Apkalna contains music strongly influenced by Eastern Europe. At the centre is the title-giving work Hell and Dunkel by the Russian-born composer Sofia Gubaidulina, who lives near Hamburg. A wide sound panorama - shimmering figurations in highest tones and deep static, dark cluster clouds - shows the wide tonal range of the instrument. The album also features works by other composers who have influenced Iveta Apkalna and in some cases accompanied her personally on her musical path: Leos Janáček and his post studies from the Glagolitic Mass, the three Évocations by Apkalna's French organist colleague Thierry Escaich, the two Etudes for Organ by György Ligeti, the Passacaglia of the opera Lady Macbeth by Mzensk by Dmitri Shostakovich and two works by her compatriots Aivars Kalējs and Lūcija Garūta. The title of the album Light & Dark not only refers to the extremes. Even if an organ has black and white keys and the black console is embedded in the "White Skin" of the Elbphilharmonie: music consists not only of contrasts, but also of nuances. "This organ can do everything! It is warm and round, with many beautiful undertones coming from everywhere and from the depths. This sound embraces the people," says Iveta Apkalna after the very first rehearsal on the instrument.

The 4,765 pipes of the four-manual organ made by Johannes Klais Orgelbau extend over five audience seats in the Great Hall and are perfectly integrated into the unique architecture of the Elbphilharmonie. Some pipes can be touched by the visitors, and the particularly large-pored structure of the "White Skin" allows views into the interior of the organ, whose pipe material spreads over a room measuring 15 by 15 metres. Another special feature of the Elbphilharmonie organ is the remote work, which is mounted in the reflector high above the stage. Some 45 organ builders worked around 25,000 hours on the instrument. Their aim was "to reach people with a musical instrument that surprises in a modern outfit, touches body and soul and offers the warmth of a harmonious sound bath in the sea-fresh Hanseatic city," as Bernd Reinartz and Philipp Klais describe the approach to this project. The "harmonious sound bath" can be taken quite literally: At 16 hertz (16 vibrations per second), the largest pipe, more than 10 meters long, sounds deeper than a person is able to hear. Their sound is more perceptible as a muffled humming. The renowned workshop from Bonn also developed its OPUS in 1871 with a view to presenting contemporary music.

Contemporary repertoire, played on a forward-looking instrument - this fits perfectly with Iveta Apkalna's mission to further establish the organ as an instrument outside the ecclesiastical context. Numerous world premieres bear witness to her enthusiasm for contemporary music. Since Iveta Apkalna's concert with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Claudio Abbado, she has appeared with leading orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under the direction of such important conductors as Mariss Jansons, Sir Antonio Pappano, Gustavo Dudamel, Marek Janowski, Kent Nagano and Peter Eötvös. In March 2018 she was twice awarded the "Latvian Grand Music Award" in her home country in the categories "Musician of the Year" and "Concert of the Year". The Latvian Grand Music Award is Latvia's highest musical award.

Iveta Apkalna, piano

Iveta Apkalna
Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna is considered one of the leading instrumentalists in the world. Starting from 2017 she serves as the titular organist of the Klais organ at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Germany – Hamburg's new cultural landmark and one of the most exciting structural projects in Europe. The January 2017 opening offerd two world premieres: Wolfgang Rihm's Triptychon und Spruch in memoriam Hans Henny Jahnn with Thomas Hengelbrock and the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra and Jörg Widmann's ARCHE with Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg.

Iveta has performed with a number of the world's top orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. She has collaborated with renowned conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Mariss Jansons, Marek Janowski, Kent Nagano, Thomas Hengelbrock, Sir Antonio Pappano and Andris Nelsons and frequently appeared at the Lucerne, Lockenhaus, Bremen, Halle Georg Friedrich Händel, Ludwigsburg Castle, Schwetzinger, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals.

Recent engagements include a recital in Disney Hall and the debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel, as well as concerts in China's most prestigious halls such as the NCPA Beijing and the Shanghai Symphony Hall.

Throughout her career, Iveta Apkalna has earned international recognition for honours and competitions. She was appointed a cultural ambassador of Latvia by receiving the "Excellence Award in Culture 2015" from the Latvian Ministry of Culture. In March 2018 she received the "Latvian Grand Music Award" as "Musician of the Year" and in the category "Concert of the Year", the most prestigious award in music in Latvia. Iveta Apkalna became the first organist to receive the title of "Best Performing Artist" award at the 2005 ECHO Klassik. French-German TV network ARTE broadcasted in 2008 a documentary about her entitled "Dancing with the Organ". In 2003 she received the first prize and four additional special prizes in the International M. Tariverdiev Organ Competition in Kaliningrad, Russia. In 2002 she advanced to the world finals of the Royal Bank Calgary International Organ Competition in Canada and received the prestigious Johann Sebastian Bach Prize. Iveta studied piano and organ at J. Vitols Latvian Academy of Music and continued her studies at the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and at the National Academy of Music and Fine Arts in Stuttgart.

She is dedicated to contemporary music and performs works of Naji Hakim, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Arturs Maskats or Thierry Escaich. Together with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam she has presented the world premiere of "Multiversum", a commissioned composition of Péter Eötvös, on an extensive Europe tour.

Born in Rēzekne, Latvia, Iveta has made it her mission to bring the splendour of organ music beyond church walls and into concert halls. She currently lives in Berlin and in Riga.

Booklet for Light & Dark (First Solo Organ Recording from the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg)

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