Paul Boekkooi, the leading S. African critic, was there for Daniel Rowland’s performance of Distant Light by Péteris Vasks at Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, 3rd July 2016.
“More magic of a totally different kind followed with the SA première of the Latvian composer Péteris Vasks’ (b.1946) Distant Light (Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra), with Daniel Rowland as the soloist with an ensemble consisting of faculty members and students.
Rowland has an inherent talent to clarify scores to a level where they communicate with a higher level of clarity, without ever losing sight of the underlying subtext which initially inspired the composer. With Vasks the close listener is transported into timeless elegiac soundscapes with a kind of magic “undergrowth” from which themes that are elevated to more concrete structural pointers within the work develop. This kind of continuation which requires enormous concentration, was strongly evident in the soloist’s involvement and the ever changing tonal and wide emotional spectrum of his playing.
In the three challenging cadenzas Rowland connected us with various historically connected stylistic elements that are interwoven into them and which makes of this work more than just a kind of contemporary classic.
Xandi van Dijk conducted the work with the kind of precision, but also with enthusiasm and passion (like in the short waltz sequence) that was far more than admirable.”