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FOLK SONG "PŪT, VĒJIŅI" AS ARRANGED BY JURJĀNU ANDREJS

In Latvian professional music, Jurjānu Andrejs (1856–1922) was the first graduate of St Petersburg Conservatory with three diplomas: those of an organist (1880), composer (1881), and French horn player (1882). He was also a founder of Latvian symphony, cantata, oratorio, and the instrumental concert genre. His career as a composer and performer he combined with the work of a teacher, conductor, and a collector of folklore material.

Among his many contributions, one, the arrangement of a Daugava boatman song "Pūt, vējiņi" ("Blow wind, blow") is of particular interest. The song was arranged for a four-voice a cappella mixed choir in B flat major, in a seemingly simple, eight-bar diatonic harmony.

Among the 94 folk-songs arranged and published by Jurjānu Andrejs "Pūt, vējiņi" was the first melody included in his "Latvian Folk Songs for a Mixed Choir with Piano Accompaniment" (1884), but the a cappella version became popular only during the Fifth All-Latvian Song Festival where it premiered on June 20, 1910.

This was the first step in the long life of this particular arrangement of "Pūt, vējiņi", sung at most of the Song Festivals as well as hundreds and thousands of gatherings – both official and private. In occupied Latvia and abroad this song seemed to symbolize the national anthem, often sung spontaneously even if not included in the official program as an expression of patriotic feeling.     Owing to some famous touring choirs, as Teodors Reiters’s Choir and Ādolfs Ābele’s "Dziesmuvara" before World War II, and some outstanding international award-winning choirs in the Soviet era, "Pūt, vējiņi" is quite well known (and even sung, in Latvian) among the choirs and audiences abroad.

Oļģerts Grāvītis

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