NORTH WIND. SOUTH WIND.
Contre-le-vent-music from Estonia
Iris Oja, vokaal
Kristi Mühling, kannel
Tarmo Johannes, flööt
Aare Tammesalu, tšello
This album celebrates the 10th anniversary of Resonabilis. Contre-le-vent-music in the title refers to the essence of the works recorded. It is like going against the wind. Brand new! Presentation at Temnikova & Kasela Transcending Gallery & Project Space (Müürivahe Str 22, 2nd floor, Tallinn) on Sep 14th at 4 pm.
|1||Jüri Reinvere||The Empire of May||14:02|
|2||Tatjana Kozlova||Köielkõndija / Tightrope Walker||10:40|
|5||Andrus Kallastu||Eleegiline troop / Elegical Trope||5:18|
|6||Kristjan Kõrver||Signum Magnum II||5:48|
|7||Helena Tulve||North Wind, South Wind||13:11|
RESONABILIS: Iris Oja – vocal, Kristi Mühling – kannel (Estonian psaltery), Tarmo Johannes – flute, Aare Tammesalu – cello
Recorded 2011–2012 in Orthodox Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Tallinn (#2–7), and Electronic Music Studio of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (#1)
Engineered by Margo Kõlar
Liner notes by Inna Kivi
Paintings by Liis Koger (see below) and Eda Lõhmus
Photo (Award of Excellent Competition, Las Vegas, 2011) by Kaupo Kikkas
Design by Mart Kivisild
Produced by Peeter Vähi and Resonabilis
Ensemble Resonabilis (Lat – ‘ringing, sounding’) consists of an unique combination of instruments – voice, flute, cello and kannel.
Kannel is a string instrument spread in the Baltic countries and Finland under different names and forms. Kannel resembles to some extent to German Zither or Turkish kanun.
Kannel is played in horisontal position, the strings are plucked with fingers. Its origins are prehistoric – extending to thousands of years. Nowadays Estonian kannel has developed into sophisticated concert instrument – its four octaves of chromatic steel strings produce a particularly beautiful and resonating sound, it is possible to play almost any music from Bach to the very contemporary repertore. Thanks to its flexibility and sound qualities, kannel blends notably well with the classical instruments, opening thus a new road for further development in the contemporary music.
Resonabilis was founded in 2002 by Tarmo Johannes and Kristi Mühling. The first performance was given in the Autumn Festival of Estonian Academy of Music with the première of Florete flores by Kristjan Kõrver. The first full concert, Resonances, took place on April 9th, 2003 during the festival Estonian Music Days. The ensemble is constantly extending its repertoire in co-operation with different composers.
In the period of 2009–2010, Resonabilis has commissioned the largest number of new works among Estonian chamber ensembles and nearly all the best-known Estonian composers of our time have written music for them. In addition to the Estonian audience, Resonabilis has introduced their musical world to the listeners in Ireland, Germany, Finland, Latvia, the UK (Vale of Glamorgan Festival 2010) and Iran (International Fadjr Music Festival 2008). An important place in the ensemble’s activity is taken by concert series called ReVisioon (2006–2012) with the aim of uniting audio and visual arts – the season of 2011/2012 sees and hears a synthesis between music and photography.
Download: photo of Resonabilis by Kaupo Kikkas, colour, RGB, 300 dpi, 3.8 MB
Jüri Reinvere (b 1971) has studied composition at the Tallinn Music High School with Lepo Sumera, at the Frederyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw with Zbigniew Rudzinski and at Sibelius Academy in Finland with Erkki Jokinen, Veli-Matti Puumala and Tapio Nevanlinna. Since 2005, the composer resides in Germany.
Reinvere has been characterized as a cosmopolitan composer with an existential scope interested in the poetry of history, culture (especially fenno-ugrian), nature and human perception. The versatile stylistic spectre of his music ranges from minimalistic works to complicated orchestral textures, from sound colorites to scores synthesizing different fields of art. He has composed multimedia works, chamber and orchestral music including Requiem and opera Purge based on a novel by Sofi Oksanen with the same title. The lyrics are usually written by the composer himself.
For The Empire of May Reinvere, like several Romantics (Schumann, Keats), has got inspiration from the first month of summer that in Southern Europe appears tender and full of ripeness. A poem in music or music with a poem flowing through it, like the composer himself defines the work, is, contrary to the Romantics, an ode with a slight political-philosophical undertone. Reinvere had a years-long habit to disappear into two weeks of total solitude on the isle of Saaremaa in May. The Empire of May is a part of a bigger cycle based on seasons, pastorales and late-night impressions where an important role is played by the places and moments where the composer has been his own sole company.
Tatjana Kozlova (b 1977) is an Estonian composer of Russian origin who, having been brought up in the border towns Narva and Ivangorod, has constantly traveled between the two countries. In 1995 she made up her mind in favour of Estonia and began her studies of musicology and composition (Toivo Tulev) at the Tallinn Georg Ots Music College. In 1999 she continued her education at the Estonian Academy of Music with Prof Jaan Rääts and Helena Tulve, followed by a year (2003–2004) at G. Tartini Conservatory in Trieste with Fabio Nieder. Kozolova has received numerous prestigious prizes: Made of Hot Glass was awarded III Prize in the young composers’ category at International Composers’ Rostrum in Paris, 2004; Kranichstein Music Award 2006 at the Darmstadt New Music Summer School; Heino Eller Music Award in 2008; Prizes of the Estonian Music Days in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2011. In 2011 Kozlova’s Disintegration Chain was elected among top ten works at the International Composers’ Rostrum in Vienna.
The composer herself has said that she has been influenced by her teachers Tulve and Nieder and “the voices in her head”. She considers sound colorite, intuition, empathy and moving towards balance essential. She likes to listen to the music by Grisey, Sciarrino, Saariaho and Goebbels and tries to understand the mechanisms of human mind.
Kozolova has mainly composed music for different ensembles.
Tightrope Walker is her third composition for Resonabilis. It was premiered in June 2009 at Tartu St John Church. The author herself has said: “I am hovering above the void while looking for an inner balance”.
Eugene Birman (b 1987) is a versatile composer born in Daugavpils, Latvia, who has studied at the Julliard Music School in the USA, at Accademia Musica Chigiana in Siena, Italy and at San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He also holds a BA in Economics from the Columbia University of New York.
In 2010/2011 Birman received a grant for post-graduate studies at the Estonian Academy of Music with Toivo Tulev.
Birman’s works have won awards all over the world and he has had close collaboration with musicians from the USA, Europe and Asia. Most of his works have been composed for specific ensembles or soloists.
His work, versatile in genre, has been described as animalistic and hypnotic. It is a sonic extension of the surrounding environment where supreme silence and cacophonic noise make equally important sources of tension. His instrumental as well as choral music are almost always allegoric of some literary source material.
The basis of defixio2 is formed by a significant line from Ibis by Ovid. Defixio in the Greek-Roman culture denoted an amulet that was buried together with the deceased or was fixed on the wall of a burial chamber in order to keep the grave-robbers away. One of the last works by Ovid, Ibis, in a way fulfills the function of defixio as if being directed towards another poet. What if one reads the title ibis backwards – sibi (Latin for ‘to oneself’) – and what if the text is about the author himself? Birman’s defixio tries to draw energy from the paradox – the difference between “oneself” and “against oneself”. That is a void containing more tension than its surrounding area.
Tauno Aints (b 1975) graduated from the pop music department at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy in 1998 and cum laude as composer from the Estonian Academy of Music in 2004 (Prof Lepo Sumera and Helena Tulve). Since 2002, he teaches musicology at the Tallinn Music High School; in 2002–2007, he was active in a pop-group Genialistid; in 2007–2008, Aints was the composer-in-residence at the Estonian National Male Choir. He has been awarded the grant of Riho Päts School Music Foundation (2007) and Heino Eller Music Prize (2009).
Musicologist Kerri Kotta has said that the most essencial characteristic of Tauno Aints’ music is game and she adds that sometimes the composer plays on the wave of modernism, but sometimes on the stereotype models of behaviour among the audience and the rules of the game are more often than not changed when the listener least expects it. Thus it may happen that the audience is made to perform for themselves and the composer enjoys the position of a conductor. (Teater. Muusika. Kino, 6/7, 2009).
The most critically acclaimed works by Aints have been an arrangement of Gustav Ernesaks’ Rongisõit (commissioned by the Song Festival in 2007), oratorio Aeg armastada (Time to Love) for Eri Klas’ anniversary, choreographic performance Mowgli premiered at Vanemuine Theatre in Oct 2010 and ballet Helde puu (Generous Tree) premiered at Nargenfestival in 2011.
3film is the continuation of 2film premiered by Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in 2007. Once again inspired by motion, this time it is a more personal observation of the inner existence. The vocal part is based on a study of phonetic compounds.
Andrus Kallastu has studied choral conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music with Prof Olev Oja and composition with Prof Eino Tamberg and orchestral conducting with Jorma Panula, Eri Klas and Ilja Mussin as well as composition with Paavo Heininen, Olli Kortekangas and Erkki Jokinen, singing with Matti Pelo and also, musicology at Sibelius Academy.
He is known as conductor and free-lance singer as well as the organizer of Pärnu Contemporary Music Days and the leader of a conceptual music theatre group Repoo Ensmble, a founder and member of the board of Estonian Arnold Schönberg Society and also Artisitic Director of Kallastu Festival. He is active in music publicizing being co-worker and counsel of Scripta Musicalia Publisher and also contributing regularly to Wikipedia.
“Andrus Kallastu’s work can be divided into two stylistic periods. The biggest part of his work from the student period at the Estonian Academy of Music (1985–1990) was composed in the neoclassical style which was typical of the Estonian Music at that time and carries the influence of modal thinking. The revolutionary year of 1990, with equally significant events in his private life as well as in the Estonian society, brought a turning point into Kallastu’s work. This decade saw Kallastu actively working on music by Schönberg and his school and the composer was strongly influenced by his studies in Helsinki. The first new style works were completed at the end of the 1990s and were characterized by serial texture, field techinque and the sound probing the borderline between music and noise. Many works by Kallastu display his interest in combining music with other fields of art, and in performance.” (EMIC)
At the beginning of the 1990s Andrus Kallastu composed three dodecaphonic miniatures for ensemble Camerata Tallinn which, however, he dared not give to the musicians taking into account the prevailing trends in music of those days. After the death of the artistic leader of the ensemble Jaan Õun the works remained on a shelf for a whole year. When Tarmo Johannes suggested Kallastu compose something for Resonabilis, the composer immediately remembered those pieces in his desk drawer. He used two of those and added three framing passages with scale texture different from that of the miniatures and with random numeric successions controlling the other musical parametres.
Eleegiline troop (Elegical Trope) is the trope of the 11th fragment of an earlier work by the composer – games of love and war Welt gebaut ist dedicated to the people and events that have stayed in the past.
Kristjan Kõrver (b 1976) has graduated from the Tallinn Georg Ots Music College and the Estonian Academy of Music with Helena Tulve and Prof Eino Tamberg.
The following key words are generally used in characterizing his music: neoexpressionist tone, passionate colorite of timbre, sharp rhythm and contrasting polyphony.
Most of his works are composed for various chamber ensembles and solo instruments. Two works – Expansio I for four alto saxophones and Gratis dictum for ensemble, have been awarded the Prize of Estonian Music Days in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Signum Magnum II is the composer’s second work for the full staff of Resonabilis. The composer himself says: For me the timbre of this ensemble carries a Mediæval air that has inspired me in writing this piece. While forming the vocal part, I thought a lot about the 18th century opera.
Helena Tulve (b 1972) is a composer whose music is centered on constant change. Her music grows out from simple primary impulses, being influenced by natural patterns, organics and synchronicity. No sound can be excluded from Tulve’s music: it can always find its meaningful time and place.
The most important teachers of Tulve have been Erkki-Sven Tüür and Jacques Charpentier. Besides composition she has thoroughly studied Gregorian chant and various oral musical traditions are still her subject of research.
Her works have been commissioned by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, NYYD Ensemble, ensemble diferencias, the Netherlands’ Chamber Choir, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra et al. She has had close collaboration with video artists and has also composed screen music.
Two CDs with Helena Tulve’s music have been released: Sula (Thaw) by Estonian Radio in 2005, and Lijnen by ECM in 2008.
A German musicologist Wolfgang Sandner has described Tulve’s music: “One of the most fascinating features of Tulve’s music is that it does not appear to be composed, everything seems to be happening by itself – as if the instruments are playing by themselves, rather than being played on. Form is never in the foreground. Tulve’s structures remind of stones or trees where everything is obvious: some are knotty, some are beautiful, some are mysterious while others are simple and clear. Her music could be fitted into a landscape where it would organically melt into the surroundings without cutting into the eye.”
North Wind, South Wind has been inspired by texts from two ancient traditions – The Song of Songs and the mystical poetry by the 13th century Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. An important impulse for composing the current work was according to the composer’s own words given also by Raul Meel’s book Saalomoni ülemlaul (The Song of Songs of Solomon).
Words appear from silence, sound is born from the words, imagination arises from the sound and turns back into the void.
The work was premiered at the Vale of Glamorgan festival in Wales in 2010 and is dedicated to ensemble Resonabilis.