Estonian Premieres

TÕNU KÕRVITS (b.1969): To the Moonlight, ÜLO KRIGUL (b.1978): Chordae, The Bow, HELENA TULVE (b.1972): L’ombre derrière toi, TAUNO AINTS (b.1975): Ouverture Estonia, LEPO SUMERA (1950-2000): Olympic Music I.

Catalogue Number: 07Y054

Label: Alpha

Reference: 863

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: A most enjoyable collection that highlights the rich diversity of Estonian contemporary music; all tonal and readily approachable in these cases, but expressively very different. Kõrvits' suite of three gorgeous, atmospheric nocturnes is more intimate and less monumental than the orchestral works we offered previously (01V068), but the music shares the same lush, hyper-romantic language, sometimes overlain by a subtle haze of dissonance to lend the pieces a kind of mythological mystery. Krigul's works sound more modern, though both are based on a limited range of tonal material. Chordae is based on a few chords, explored in a series of dramatic scenarios that emphasise their monolithic massiveness, with little development, and culminating in a powerfully mechanistic irregular march with Stravinskyan thrust and drive. The Bow (meaning a bow before an audience, or a bow that can be a weapon or a musical instrument) has an imposing opening in towering, harsh chords, soon infiltrated by active music that flutters, swoops and soars over the granitic landscape below. Written during the Covid pandemic, the piece has a defiant, warlike air. The sudden coda is utterly still, its bell-like chimes fading away to nothing. Aints' overture is a fine example of the nationalistic celebration genre, inspired by the composer’s work on a choral commission for a work entitled "My Fatherland". The opening is bracingly dynamic, heroic and warlike. After a thunderously victorious climax, the second half of the work is rapt and solemn, perhaps celebrating the natural beauty of the land and its long history. The work ends with a radiant coda. Sumera is one of Estonia's greatest symphonists, but he wrote a great deal of other music during his tragically short life, including Olympic Music I, for an event at the 1980 Olympics. It begins by establishing a pedal-point drone, gradually introducing melodic music and a surging, Sibelian theme. Repeating fanfare motifs, characteristic of the composer’s brand of post-minimalism (which he adopted while the original minimalism was in full swing!) become the background to jubilant dancing motifs based on a folk-like tune heard earlier, which provides the last word as the music fades back into the landscape. Tulve's approach to composition is less rooted in mainstream tradition; drawing on chant, Eastern music and spectralism, L'ombre derrière toi (from the proverb: “Look at the Sun, and the shadows will fall behind you.”) explores planes of limited pitch range, derived from the incantatory quality of the one, the ornamentation of the other, and the strange interactions between adjacent pitches of the third. Gradually the piece expands and effloresces into a wild sonoristic effusion before folding back onto itself. Estonian Festival Orchestra; Paavo Järvi.

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