General information Latvian organists Organ builders
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Organ music in Latvia

In Latvia there are many pipe organs - almost every small church has its own instrument. A number of organs are quite remarkable (for example the largest mechanical tracker instrument ever built in the world is located in the city of Liepaja, and the famous organ of Riga Dom which is one of largest trackers as well).

There are almost no new installations - most of the instruments have survived from last century or from beginning of this one. Sure, here are also older organs - for example, the oldest instrument which has not been rebuilt is 28/II,P organ by Cornelius Raneus which was finished in 1701. It is located in the town of Ugale. Also there are some "second-hand" organs in Latvia, largest of them is the one in St.John's church, Riga. This situation is caused by lack of financial resources which impose all the congregations and institutions.

On the other hand, many historical instruments have survived. For example, about 20 instruments were built by E.F.Walcker & Co, many of them still here. The oldest one is the organ of Riga Dom (124/IV,P) built in 1883, the last - organ of Latvian University (~70/III,P) built in 1937. Almost same number of organs was built by W.Sauer, mostly smaller ones; most of them still alive as well.

Organ builders in Latvia are mostly busy with tuning/voicing/repairing works since there are no orders for new organs. And some relocations occur from time to time. There is only one organ builder who is registered as a private enterprise - Janis Kalninsh (home page in Latvian only). He has done several restorations, as well as built some Positiv organs. There are about 10 individuals who can be considered organ builders but do it on private basis. Most of them have studied with famous organ builders. Talivaldis Deksnis, Roberts Hansons, Juris Jerums, Viesturs Ilsuns, to name a few.

We have many famous organists here as well. Talivaldis Deksnis, Jevgenya Lisitsina, Aivars Kalejs, Larissa Bulava, Atis Stepins, Ligita Sneibe, Vita Kalnciema - at least some of these names should be familiar to many of the foreigners. Many of them are giving organ lessons to students in Latvian Academy of Music or in other institutions. There are many bright examples among the young generation as well. Worth mentioning would be Iveta Viluma (studies with T.Deksnis) - she got 3rd prize in Lahti organ festival in 1997 and is giving recitals from time to time and they are always highly appreciated by the teachers and the public.

There are many latvian composers who write organ music. It started relatively not so long time ago - first works for organ were composed in 1875 by Baumanu Karlis, they were compositions for choir and organ: "Our Father" and much larger work "Salaman's book 3rd part". Some of the cantatas by latvian composer Jurjanu Andrejs were performed with organ accompaniment. From organ solo works among the earliest are "Pastorale" by Adams Ore, Fantasy d-moll by J.G.Tepfer and many works by Alfreds Kalninsh. There are lots of later composed works as well and the process still continues today.

Thanks to Latvian Academy of Music for hosting my pages.