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Music Pictures from Latvia 1997

The summer 1997 I travelled from my home in Stockholm, Sweden to Latvia. First I visited an early music festival in Bauska and Rundale (Southern Latvia), then a renaissance music course in Edole (near the coast) with singers, musicians, and dancers — really something to remember! Maybe I'll write a proper narrative some time; until then, here's a selection of pictures from the trip, with short comments.

Bauska Early Music Festival


Friday night and Saturday: festival going on in the little town Bauska and in its castle remnants.

Brisk trade, historically inspired: here festival coins are hammered out (186 Kb)

Enthusiasts from the audience stay after Saltatores Revaliensis's performance to get a crash course in historical dance. Virve Kurbel from Estonia teaches (in English and Russian) (135 Kb)

A little girl plays the kokle (Latvian folk instrument) nearby the castle remains (quite outside the festival programme) (221 Kb)


On Sunday, the festival continues at splendid Rundale Castle, a few kilometres from Bauska.

The gates of Rundale early on Sunday. In the courtyard the final rehearsal of tonight's performance of Handel's "Acis and Galatea" is going on. Recorder sound, strings, and singing is heard all over the place. (104 Kb)

Sunny sight of Rundale Castle from the park (120 Kb)

The White Hall at Rundale. A beautiful flower arrangement, me myself, and in the background harpsichordist Aina Kalnciema (104 Kb)

The opera performance has just begun. It's still light outdoors nine o'clock an evening in the middle of July (117 Kb)

Merry audience in Rundale (209 Kb)

Edole Renaissance Music Course

Edole is a village in Western Latvia (Courland). There is a castle, a church, a grocer's shop, a post office, a lake, and a few houses in the middle of the countryside. The nearest town is Kuldiga (also known by its German name Goldingen).

On the steps of Edole Castle (126 Kb)

Big ensemble (The tuition in Edole was done partly in smaller groups of singers, dancers, and different instrumentalists, partly in a big ensemble.) (124 Kb)

Theory lesson (82 Kb)

The church of Edole, where the singers of the course embellished the service (82 Kb)

A little spontaneous ensemble (107 Kb) Dita, Alevtina, Iveta, and Matthias

One night at the fireside a group of singing old women from the neighbouring village Alsunga sang a smashing traditional "duel song" that humorously mocked the neighbouring village in improvised verse after verse (172 Kb)

Afterwards, all the Alsunga ladies tried to step into a tiny weeny car (134 Kb)

One day we toured Courland by bus. Here a few of us have stopped by Ventas Rumba (Europe's broadest waterfall) (116 Kb)

The final concert. Just at this moment a smaller group is dancing. In the background, lute teacher Stewart McCoy and by viol and wind instrument teacher Margaret Westlake are playing. Behind them you see the arrangers of the course, Solvita Sejane and Paul Madgwick (142 Kb)

Lute duet (108 Kb) Stewart McCoy and Peter Martin

A beautifully laid table at the final party with redcurrants and blackcurrants! Dance teacher Virve Kurbel stretches after over a week of heavy work (137 Kb)

An almost collapsed house in Edole village (158 Kb)

Other things

Some private pictures from the same trip. (I visited friends of mine in Riga on my way from the Bauska festival to the Edole course.)

Riga bus station. An old woman, who had come to town by bus to sell her greens, was very interested in my solid luggage cart... (131 Kb)

The greengrocery market stall in Riga, to where I helped the old woman with her cucumbers and other vegetables (148 Kb)

Then I had a beer in the old town (109 Kb)

Ericsson advertises their newest mobile phone--"little and smart"--with a big wall painting (130 Kb)

My friend in Riga (172 Kb)

On the steps of my friends' house (135 Kb)

An actor gets (or plays? :-) ) nostalgic over an old playbill for William Shakespeare's "Otello". (Notice the Latvian spelling!) (122 Kb)

Brivdabas muzeja--the open-air museum of Latvian culture (135 Kb)

In the kitchen of my friends' place (126 Kb)

Links American e-magazine that covers most things Latvian, amongst other things they keep a calendar of cultural events
A compilation of early music events in Latvia 1998
The official homepage of the Edole summer school (unfortunately it seems empty for the time being (18 June 1999))
A narrative from Edole by lutenist Peter Martin
Another narrative by Brigitte Bock (in German)
Most recent update: 24 September 2000.
Copyright © Matthias Bolliger.