Lūcija Garūta


“4 Preludes”
Pianist Eva Doroszkowska

Eva Doroszkowska, Patriks Zvaigzne 2024

Garūta’s piano preludes stand as a testament to Latvian resilience and artistry. Born in 1902, her music combines traditional motifs with Romantic influences, mirroring her nation’s turbulent past. Pianist Eva Doroszkowska, visits Garuta’s historical home observing her workplace and examines the expressive harmonies and rhythmic intricacies that define Garūta’s work.

Lūcija Garūta is a pivotal figure in Latvian classical music. Her compositions serve as a conduit for the nation’s soul and reflect its tumultuous history. Born in 1902, her life and music were shaped against the backdrop of two world wars and subsequent Soviet occupation of Latvia. Such periods of strife and resilience deeply infuse her works with themes of sorrow, hope, and national identity. Significant amongst her celebrated compositions, these piano preludes offer reflections on the composer’s personal struggles and offer a valuable introspective into the emotional landscape of her homeland.

With a kaleidoscope of colours, the preludes bear witness to an emotional landscape of universal appeal suffused with the light of national pride. Revealing techniques of meticulously crafted melody and harmony, each note and chord rings with emotional resonance

“The way Garūta layers her harmonies and shifts dynamics is not just technical; it’s deeply expressive and intentional,”

remarks Eva, whose 2024 video analysis provides a contemporary lens through which to view these historical pieces.

Opulent on the one hand in rich chromaticism, eloquence and strength is contrasted with grace and delicacy as subtle colouring of inner melodies convey shifting moods in ebb and flow. Like exquisite crystals, Garuta’s preludes are concise in form. They challenge the performer and listener alike with mercurial changes of mood. Melodies soar through registers paralleling the emotional contours of Latvian narratives. Eva’s interpretation highlights unique rhythmic perspectives as syncopation and irregular meters are organised into comprehensive structural forms.

“Each note is weighted with emotional gravitas, both personal and collective.”

Navigating the artistic constraints imposed by Soviet authorities, Garuta takes a different approach to those of her contemporaries, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Her music remains subtly subversive, embedded with Latvian nationalist sentiment yet cloaked in personal expression. This comparative analysis, drawn from Eva’s commentary, enriches our understanding of Garūta’s place in the classical music canon underlining her contribution as not only a composer of national importance but also as a creator of works of significant universal appeal.

Above all the preludes offer a fleeting glimpse of Garuta’s pianistic style, evocative of a timeless world of fantasy. Resonating with freshness to the audiences of today, her music takes their rightful place in recitals worldwide, testament to their enduring artistic vision. Offering a window into Garuta’s imagination by exploring the music on the piano where Garuta composed and performed, in the very home where Garuta’s artistic spirit bloomed, Eva bridges realms of past and present as Garuta ’s story unfolds in keys and chords, unravelling the heart and soul of Latvia. This analysis aims to share Garuta’s world and her contribution to classical music ensuring her lasting legacy which flourishes with each passing generation.