Folk Music Quotations and Allusions in Latvian Composers’ Neo-romantic Symphonic Music in the Last Decade of the 20th Century and Еarly 21st Century

  • Jānis Kudiņš Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music
Keywords: folk music, quotation, allusion, Latvian composers, last decades of the 20th century – early 21st century, neo-romanticism, symphonic music


This article focuses on the one specific question about folk music quotations and allusions in the symphonic music of Latvian composers in the last third of the 20th century (from the 70s) and the early 21st century. Several Latvian composers (e. g. Romualds Kalsons, Pēteris Butāns, Pēteris Vasks, Pēteris Plakidis, Juris Karlsons) in their neo-romantic symphonic works reflects interesting cases of Latvian folk music quotation, quasi quotation or allusion. Overall these are cases that show the composer's ability to actively use and create a similarity with Latvian folk music. However, this aspect  raises the following questions. What kind of local (Latvian) traditions regarding folk music use (in general) are represented by Latvian composers? Why, at the end of the 20th century and the early 21st century, have several composers continued to use folk music quotations or create folk music allusions? What symbolizes the folk music quotations and allusions in the context of the postmodern period’s characteristic musical aesthetic and stylistics? It is hoped that this analysis will provoke a fruitful exchange of views on this question from different aspects.

Author Biography

Jānis Kudiņš, Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music

Jānis Kudiņš, Ph.D., musicologist, is a Professor at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (Department of Musicology), and an international expert of the Latvian Council of Science. His major interests in musicology are linked with several issues. These issues include Latvian and Baltic music history in the 19th and 20th centuries, musical aesthetic problems (the concepts of Modernism and Post-modernism) and European popular music history (first half of the 20th century).