François Soulet, tenor
Jelena Voznesenskaya, sopraano
Sauli Tiilikainen, bariton
René Soom, bariton
Anu Lamp, narrator
Eesti Filharmoonia Kammerkoor
Risto Joost, dirigent
… based on the Latin texts by Seneca, Ovidius, Martialis, Codex Vossianus and Codex Bernensis…
|1||Epigram I for tenor and chamber orchestra||5:51|
|2||Epigram IV for soprano and chamber orchestra||5:43|
|3||Epigram III for baritone and chamber orchestra||4:48|
|4||Epigram V for soprano and chamber orchestra||5:22|
|5||Epigram II for tenor and chamber orchestra||3:37|
|6||Epigram VI for soprano and chamber orchestra||5:04|
|7||Epigram VII for baritone and chamber orchestra||3:15|
|8||Invocatio for baritone, mixed choir and chamber orchestra||14:54|
|9||Mater rosae for mixed choir and chamber orchestra||6:43|
Performed by: François Soulet – tenor (1, 5), Jelena Voznesenskaya – soprano (2, 4, 6), Sauli Tiilikainen – baritone (3, 7), René Soom – baritone (8), Anu Lamp – narrator (6), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Risto Joost – conductor
Recorded in 2006 in Tallinn Methodist Church
Engineered by Aili Jõeleht / Estonian Radio
Mastered by Marika Scheer / Estonian Radio
Booklet compiled by Inna Kivi and Mirje Mändla
Booklet edited by Tiina Jokinen
Design by Mart Kivisild
Photos by Fred Jüssi and Estonian TV
Co-produced by Peeter Vähi
The 21st cent sliding-by world, soaked with materialism, makes one ask oneself the same existential questions when confronted with death that can be found already in the texts of the epigrams of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. The answers to the everlasting existential questions are born depending on the religion or philosophy organizing one’s world in the important development phases, or are created from the preference to search for them in art. Composer René Eespere has found that his life credo has been voiced quite accurately by a Roman epigram classic Martialis – to avoid the presence of the great and the lowly, but in middle part of life will it keep a moderate pace.
The vocal music on René Eespere’s 7th author’s CD De spe (‘Of Hope’) is based on the Latin texts by Seneca, Ovidius, Martialis, Codex Vossianus and Codex Bernensis and on the dramatic-symbolic poem Invocatio by Anne Lill inspired by Franz Kafka’s parable Before The Law. The use of Latin takes us from the relatively straightforward daily world to the symbolist reflections of philosophers. Most of the CD is filled with Epigrams which are musically expressed in a nuance-rich language of impressionistic, operatic and sacred music elements.
The original versions of Epigrams (for voice and piano) were written for the Opera in the Town Hall concert series and have been premièring within the ancient walls of the Tallinn Town Hall in summer nights since 2001. Epigrams are dedicated to François Soulet, Elena Voznessenskaya and Sauli Tiilikainen whose interpretation of them is recorded on this album.
The philosophical meditation carrying us through Epigrams and Invocatio culminates in the last piece of the CD, Mater rosae, a musical parable of a rose, where the composer has succeeded in capturing in music an utterly human feeling – love.
François Soulet graduated from the conservatories of Sète and Montpellier. After winning an international competition in 1987 he started a singing career at the opera theatres of Europe, attracting the attention of critics and receiving a positive reception from the audience for his warm romantic timbre. He has sung Faust in Berlioz’ The Damnation Of Faust (at the Krakow Philharmonic), Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata (in the Verdi opera theatre in Sassari), Faust – in Gounod’s opera Faust (at the Opéra-Grand Casino in Vichy). François Soulet has performed at the Grand Theatre of Havana, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Champs-Élysées in Paris as well as the on the concert stages of France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Russia, and Estonia.
Elena Voznesenskaya started her career as a pianist and continued her studies at the Ural State Conservatory in singing in the class of a well-known Russian baritone N Golyshev. After graduating from the Conservatory she undertook postgraduate studies and training with a distinguished French soprano Mady Mesple (1996).
Elena Voznesenskaya has won several prizes at different competitions: 1st prize in the Russian singing competition at Nizhny Novgorod (1993), a prize in the 1st Competition of Young Opera Singers in Russia. She has been a finalist in 2 competitons of Toulouse (1994, 1996) and received three special prizes in the Belvedere competition in Vienna (1997). Since 1995 Elena Voznesenskaya has been the leading soprano at the Yekaterinburg Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. Her repertoire includes Violetta (Verdi’s La Traviata), Marguerite (Gounod’s Faust), Micaëla (Bizet’s Carmen), Marfa (Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride) and many others.
In 1997 she participated in the performance of Rachmaninoff’s The Bells at the Guildford Cathedral. Since the same year Elena Voznesenskaya is a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and since 1999 a soloist of the Moscow music theatre Helikon.
Sauli Tiilikainen is a soloist of the Finnish National Opera. After graduating from the Sibelius Academy (1980) he studied at the Music Academy of Vienna.
Sauli Tiilikainen has repeatedly participated in the Savonlinna Opera Festival where he sang the title role of Sallinen’s opera The King Goes Forth to France, and Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Sauli Tiilikainen has also sung the title role in the world premier of Werle’s Lionardo at the Folk Opera in Stockholm, he participated as a soloist at the performance of Sibelius’ Kullervo Symphony and in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem at the Kennedy Centre in Washington. His repertoire includes the roles of Albert (Massenet’s Werther), Germont (Verdi’s La Traviata), Figaro (Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Marcello (Puccini’s La Boheme), Guglielmo (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte), Belcore (Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love), leading roles in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the Count (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro), Eisenstein (J Strauss’ The Bat), the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Rodrigo (Verdi’s Don Carlos), etc.
René Soom has studied singing at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music Collage and at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre supervised by Virgilijus Noreika and Nadia Kurem.
Since 2005 René Soom is a soloist at the Estonian National Opera. His roles at the Estonian National Opera include Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin), Silvio (Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci), Dandini (Rossini’s Cinderella), Ben (Menotti’s The Telephone), Morales (Bizet’s Carmen), Sacristan (Puccini’s Tosca), Captain Castel-Jaloux (Tamberg’s Cyrano de Bergerac), Tanner (Tubin’s Barbara von Tisenhusen), Ottokar (Weber’s Der Freischütz), Baron Douphal (Verdi’s La Traviata), Marullo (Verdi’s Rigoletto), Henry Higgins (Loewe’s My Fair Lady). René Soom has also performed successfully as a chamber singer on several stages.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (EPCC) was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who was its artistic director and chief conductor for 20 years. In the years 2001–07 the artistic director was Paul Hillier. Since 2008 the artistic director and chief conductor is Daniel Reuss.The EPCC’s repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant to the 20th cent music. The choir has a close relationship with Estonian composers Veljo Tormis and Arvo Pärt, whose music has held a very special place in its repertoire for many years. The choir gives 60–70 concerts per season and tours regularly in Europe, the USA, Canada, and Japan.
The EPCC has worked with famous conductors and orchestras including Claudio Abbado, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Iván Fischer, Ward Swingle, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Andrew Lawrence-King, Roland Böer, Norwegian, Australian, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Rundfunk Orchestra, Concerto Copenhagen, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, etc.
The EPCC has been invited to participate in many famous music festivals all over the world, for instance BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Salzburg Festival, etc.
Besides the concerts the recordings for companies ECM, Virgin Classics, Carus, Harmonia Mundi hold an important place in the choir’s activity. The recordings have won several prizes, from which the Grammy award for Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem recorded by the EPCC and Paul Hillier (2007, Harmonia Mundi) is the most remarkable. Besides, the choir’s recordings with Arvo Pärt’s, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s and Baltic composers’ music have received 8 Grammy nominations.