Star composer Raimonds Pauls turns 80

Legendary Latvian composer, pianist and cultural activist Raimonds Pauls turns 80 on Tuesday, LSM's Latvian-language service reported.

Mostly unknown to Western audiences, Pauls is widely celebrated in Latvia, and across the former Soviet Union for a number of hit songs such as Dāvāja Māriņa aka A Million of Scarlet Roses, The Speechless Song, and others.

Pauls' influence on Latvian music and culture is difficult to overstate. He wrote the score to many Latvian film classics, including Vella kalpi, Dāvana vientuļai sievietei, Mans draugs — nenopietns cilvēks, Limuzīns Jāņu nakts krāsā, Ilgais ceļš kāpās, and othersPauls also composed for plays, ballets and musical stage works.

Among his celebrated works are pieces he wrote for Latvian pop stars. After the restoration of independence Pauls served as the Culture Minister of Latvia.

His popularity abroad can be illustrated by the fact that Russia's president Vladimir Putin was among the people to congratulate Pauls on his 80th birthday. 

A website dedicated to Pauls was launched last week, featuring a catalog of over 2,200 of his works, along with a biography and other info on the composer.

As part of the celebration, Pauls will perform a concert at Latvian National Theater at 7 PM Tuesday, featuring his best melodies performed by the composer and arrangements of Pauls' theater music performed by the Latvian Radio Big Band and popular Latvian actors. The Tuesday concert will kick off an anniversary tour sold out until April.

Pauls has received a number of awards, including the Order of the Three Stars, the highest civil service order of the Republic of Latvia.

The president of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis congratulated his namesake on Twitter, inviting everyone to "hum a song from our excellent melody Master, sending good wishes to him!". Perhaps this version of a Million Roses could serve the purpose?

 

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