Latvia is one of the three Baltic republics which became independent with the disolution of the Soviet Union. We have no information on historic choirs which would have been relgious in nature. We know of three choirs. Two are of fairly recent origin. This means that they were formed after the Soviet atheism campaign has profoundly changed Latvian society. There is also a choir at a state school promoting music. We are not sure when this choir was founded.
The history of the Letts is one largely of foreign domination. In the late Middle agdes Latvia was dominated by the German Teutonic Knights. A brief period of Swedish rule was followed by Polish and then Russian rule. Latvia achieved its independence during the Russian Revolution. Affter only 20 years as an independent country, Stalin seized Latvia and the other two Baltic republics in 1940, a consequence of the Non-Agression Pact with Hitler. Hitler then seized Latvia when he invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. After "liberation" in 1945, Latvia became a Soviet Republic. Large number of Latvian nationals were deported and many Russians moved into Latvia. As part of the disolution of the Soviet Union, Latvia became an independent country again in 1992.
Lettish is an Indo-European language. I am not sure about the religious make up of the country.
HBC knows of three Latvian choirs. Two are of fairly recent formation. I'm not sdure when the choir school was founded.
This Riga choir was founded in 1981 as the Soviet grip on Latvia was just beginning to weaken. There are about 40 boys and 16 young men in the school choir. The choir has performed with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra A. Honneger"s "The Cristmas Cantata" and G. Mahler's 8th Symphony and I. Stravinsky's "Psalm Symphony".
Members and soloists of the choir have taken part in performing with the Latvian National Opera in works such as G. Puccini's "Tosca", W. A. Mozart's "The Magic Flute", C. Menotti's "Amal And The Night Visitor" and B. Britten's "Little Sweep". The choir had broadcasts on the Latvian Radio and Television and produced two CDs (1994, 1997). The rich and varied repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to contemporary times, as well as Latvian folk song arrangements.
The boys of the Riga Cathdral Choir in a 1995 appearance wore tuxedo-like outfits with blue bow ties and with long trousers. The Riga Cathedral (Rigas Doms) is the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral in Rigaa. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Riga. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Latvia. It is featured in or the subject of paintings, photographs and, television traveloges. Like all of the older churches of the city, it is known for its weathercock. The church is commonly called the Dome Cathedral, a tautology as the word 'Dome' comes from the German Dom meaning 'cathedral'.
The Riga Dome Choir School is a state school providing general and music education for girls and boys aged 7-18 (grades 1-12). The school has a girlsą choir, too. The high school provides training and qualification for the following: church music director;
choir conductor; and music teacher. They provide training in the above mentioned programs also in English and German. The students of Riga Dome Choir School can develop their skills and get training by singing in the choir, playing in the school orchestra, piano,organ and other instrument playing, solo singing, acquiring foreign languages, sport activities,
applying computer programs (including music programs), using a well-equipped library and music room. The school has a hostel, a canteen and summer camp site on the Baltic Sea
coast. After graduating from the Riga Dome Choir School many students continue their education at the Latvian Academy of Music.
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