Maeistro Raimonds Pauls

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January 12 marks the 86th birthday of arguably Latvia’s greatest-ever musical figure, composer and performer Raimonds Pauls.

to BE arguably + adjective = there is enough supporting evidence to make the opinion

“Riga is arguably the best city in the Baltics”
“Political corruption in Chicago is arguably the worst in the US”

Media of all sorts is flooded with messages of goodwill and appreciation for the artistic veteran, universally referred to as ‘Maestro’, whose oeuvre extends all the way from folk to jazz standards, children’s songs, film soundtracks and several melodies that might make a legitimate claim to be unofficial Latvian national anthems.


to be FLOODED WITH xyz = phrasal verb; to go beyond the limit of what you have reasonable space for
 “My house is flooded with books”
“I saw his opera, and was flooded with emotion. It was arguably his best work”

Oeuvre = noun; French; a body of work by an artist
 “I only know his latest work, I am not familiar with his oeuvre”
“His oeuvre is uneven. His best work was made when he was younger”

Whether you’re shopping at the supermarket, listening to the radio, sitting in a restaurant or attending the Song And Dance Festival, you’re almost certain to come hear a familiar Raimonds Pauls tune within a matter of minutes, and all with his signature swing.

A signature + noun = adjective; describes something that immediately makes you think of the person. It is special or unique to that person.

“Miles Davis had a signature sound, and was copied by many”
“I tried the chef’s signature dish, and I loved it!”

Though not well-known among Western audiences, Pauls is widely celebrated in Latvia, and across the former Soviet space for a number of hit songs such as Dāvāja Māriņa aka A Million Scarlet Roses, The Speechless Song, and others.

Pauls’ influence on Latvian music and culture is difficult to overstate.


The possessive “s”:

When using a proper noun or name, we add an apostrophe s (‘s) to show someone or something has / owns / possesses something:

“This is Geoff’s class” = the class belongs to Geoff.
“This is Raimond’s best work” = the work belongs to Raimond.

However, if the proper noun ENDS with an “s”, such as “Pauls” then we add only an apostrophe to the noun (Pauls’) to show ownership / possession.
 “My friend Paul’s business is doing great!”
“I love Raimond Pauls’ work”
“I love Raimond’s work”

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 others. Pauls also composed for plays, ballets and musical stage works.

A soundtrack = a compilation of songs that appear during a film / television show / play / opera etc. This collection of songs was not specifically written to the piece.

A [musical] score = this collection of songs was written specifically for the piece, and was not available in any form previously.

After the restoration of independence Pauls served as the Culture Minister of Latvia and as a Saeima deputy.


Deputy =noun; position / title; in English this is an “Elected Representative”

Pauls has received a number of awards, including the Order of the Three Stars, the highest civil service order of the Republic of Latvia and the Order of the Rising Sun and Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from Japan.

Leading the celebrations and demonstrating the Maestro’s prolific output into the bargain is Latvian Radio 2, which is holding a ‘Maestro Musical Marathon’ during which it will play Pauls’ music exclusively for 85 hours. The radio station has also put a gallery online of portraits of the composer by his fans which shows he continues to appeal right across the age spectrum.


A spectrum = noun; something that goes from one category all tthe way to the opposite.

“Dogs have a limited color SPECTRUM” = they cannot see all colors.
“My diet consists of a full spectrum of foods” = I can and will eat anything.

Despite his advanced years, Pauls remains as active as ever, and a special solo lockdown concert last year proved he still has the musical magic in his fingertips. We can add nothing but our own congratulations. Happy birthday Maestro!


Maestro = noun; a title of respect and appreciation for a composer or conductor, or creative type who has mastered a specific skill or use of a tool.