Danish culture zealot and British music maker reach higher and shine with Rainis

A nation’s cultural wealth is like a fortress, “giving motivation, an environment to broaden horizons and secure a setting for ideas to soar” says a prominent Dane invited to share his biographical portrait with fans of Latvian poets Rainis and Aspazija.  Meanwhile, a certain kind of music composer – the visual kind, is like a builder, or a cabinet-maker creating furniture, “it’s all about making something”, declares one such Brit who writes sacred choral music.

The Cultural Program of the Presidency of the Council of the EU has released its latest two episodes in the #mindpower series dedicated to the sesquicentennial of Rainis and Aspazija with guests from Denmark and Great Britain.

This time Danish Cultural Institute director Michael Metz Mørch, showing off the streets of Old Copenhagen, reads an excerpt from Aspazija’s poem “Creative Spirit” from the poetry collection “The Wings Spread Wide” (1920), while Rainis, played by singer Goran Gora, tries to reshelve an unwieldy anthology volume by volume back onto the Latvian National Library shelves.

Michael Metz Mørch was born in 1947. He studied political science at the Aarhus University and later had a wide ranging career in government and business. For about 20 years he served in the diplomatic corps – he was the Danish Ambassador in Riga and Warsaw, as well as the Consul General in New York. In Latvia, he has received the Order of the Three Stars. From 2005 to 2011, he was the Chair of the Bikuben Foundation (a private foundation supporting social initiatives, cultural events, educational and ecological projects in order to promote insight and vision in society).

On his part British composer Gabriel Jackson reads the poem “Three Lessons” from the “The Twilight of Soul” (1904) poetry collection by Aspazija, while handing out excerpts to passersby on the streets of London together with Goran Gora’s elegantly portrayed Rainis urging their “dear souls” to “stand tall” and “shine”, to “reach higher always.”



Gabriel Jackson was born in 1962. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music. In 2003, he won the liturgical category at the inaugural British Composer Awards. In 2010-2013, Jackson was the Associate Composer to the BBC Singers. His music has been performed throughout Europe and the USA and it is recorded with increasing frequency, with over 60 works available on CD`s.

Jackson's work includes a significant body of organ compositions, piano and other instrumental works, but he is probably best-known for his vocal music. His creative work has been in close connection to Latvia – he has composed musical pieces for the critically acclaimed Kamēr youth choir and the State Choir Latvija.

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