|1||Arvo Pärt / Psalm 120 (121)||Peace, upon you Jerusalem||4:25|
|2||Arvo Pärt / Luke 18, 9–14||Two Prayers||4:46|
|3||Arne Mellnäs / Bengt of Klintberg||Aglepta||2:39|
|4||Veljo Tormis / folk-lore||The Singer’s Childhood||2:41|
|5||Veljo Tormis / Jaan Kaplinski||Nature Pictures
|8||Under the Bird-cherry Tree||0:46|
|11||Veljo Tormis / Aleksander Suuman||Dry Weather||1:20|
|14||Veljo Tormis / Viivi Luik||It Is Late Summer||1:44|
|15||Clouds Are Racing||1:32|
|17||Painfully red Are the Leaves||0:44|
|18||Wind Over the Barrens||1:20|
|19||Cold Autumn Night||1:30|
|21||Veljo Tormis / Andres Ehin||Winter Morning||1:20|
|25||Veljo Tormis / Kersti Merilaas||Järv tare taga||1:54|
|26||Veljo Tormis / trad||Sõit Imemaale||2:51|
|27||Veljo Tormis||Earth (from Latvian Motifs)||1:42|
|28||Cyrillus Kreek||Sing, Sickles||2:05|
|29||Cyrillus Kreek / Anna Haava||Heat Flower||1:51|
|30||Gustav Ernesaks / Debora Vaarandi||The Doves at Your Window||2:27|
|31||Gustav Ernesaks / Ellen Niit||The Icicle||2:01|
|32||Mart Saar||Song of the Birds (from Lost Princess)||1:07|
|33||Märt-Matis Lill||While Standing the Snowfall Thickens (from Winter Haikus)||1:51|
|34||武満 徹 (Takemitsu Tōru)||Sakura||2:40|
Performed by: Girls’ Choir Ellerhein and Tiia-Ester Loitme, conductor
Ülle Sander – chorus master
Voice placing – Eha Pärg
Sound engineer – Mati Brauer
Design – Piret Mikk
Produced by Ellerhein, Eesti Rahvusringhääling and Estonian Record Productions
© 2009 Ellerhein
Arvo Pärt. Two Prayers, fragment, 2 min 33 sec, mp3
Veljo Tormis. The Singer’s Childhood, fragment, 1 min 58 sec, mp3
Tallinn Children’s Choir was founded in 1951 by Heino Kaljuste. In 1969 the choir was named Ellerhein. A year later, Tiia-Ester Loitme began working with the choir as an assistant conductor and since 1989 she has been the choir’s chief conductor. The choir’s current assistant conductor and music theory teacher is Ülle Sander, the accompanist is Katrin Kuldjärv and the vocal coach is Eha Pärg.
Ellerhein has received wide international acclaim for its beautiful sound and is the winner of many choir competitions. The choir has received the 1st prize in Celje (Slovenia, 1977), Powell River (Canada, 1988), Giessen (Germany, 1990 and 1997), Tolosa (Spain, 1990 and 1997), Nantes (France, 1993), Tallinn (Estonia, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008), Arezzo (Italy, 1994), Ankara (Turkey, 2005), Wuppertal (Germany, 2007), as well as the European Grand Prix in Tolosa (Spain, 1997), Takarazuka (Japan, 1995), Tolosa (Spain, 1997). In 2007 the choir won the Estonian Radio prize The Best Estonian Choir and in 2008 they won the Grand Prix at the international choir competition Kathaumixw in Canada. At the same competition they also received the 2nd prize in folk & cultural traditionscategory.
The choir has been a frequent visitor to Japan, where the highlight of their tour in 2005 was the performance at Tokyo City Opera concert hall. The choir has worked closely with conductor Chifuru Matsubara and as a result, the recording companies BMG, Victor JVC and M&I Company have produced five discs with Ellerhein performing Estonian music. In 2004 the choir’s recording career culminated with the winning of the prestigious Grammy Award for the Virgin Classics recording of Jean Sibelius’ cantatas. In 2005, New York Times named their Virgin Classics recording of Peer Gynt one of the most outstanding recordings of the year. The next year the choir received the BBC Music Magazine award in the category of orchestral music.
Ellerhein has worked with prominent conductors such as Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Gilbert Kaplan, Andrey Chistyakov, Peeter Lilje, Saulius Sondeckis, Arvo Volmer, Eri Klas, Anu Tali, Chifuru Matsubara, Tõnu Kaljuste, Olari Elts, Andres Mustonen, Paul Mägi and others.
Since 2003 Ellerhein is a member of Europa Cantat, European Federation of Young Choirs.
Tiia-Ester Loitme graduated from Estonian Academy of Music in 1965 (Prof Gustav Ernesaks). In 1970 she started working with the girls’ choir Ellerhein and since 1989 she has been the choir’s chief conductor. In 1975–1981 she simultaneously taught at Estonian Academy of Music, and in 1980 she studied under the guidance of Prof V Sokolov at the Moscow State Conservatoire. Tiia-Ester Loitme has lead Ellerhein to many international victories and her contribution to Estonian music has earned her several prizes, such as Gustav Ernesaks Choir Music Award (1995), Order of the White Star (1997), the Tallinn City Honorary Decoration (1998), the Estonian Cultural Endowment prize (2003), Grammy Award for the best choral performance for the Virgin Classics record of Jean Sibelius’ cantatas (2004), the Third class Order of the White Star (2005), Honorary Member of the Estonian Choral Association (2007), Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette (Japan, 2008), Musician of the Year (2008).
Veljo Tormis (b 1930), one of the greatest masters in Estonian music, has composed almost exclusively for the voice – hundreds of songs, cycles, and large-scale compositions for different choruses, some stage-works and cycles of solo songs, and only single instrumental pieces. Veljo Tormis had often to explain that for him all music starts from words, he needs a text for composing that he does not have “purely musical” ideas. He has emphasized that he cannot (or does not want to) write music for pleasure or entertainment, his music has always something to say about the world, nature, men, and peoples. Tormis is a real master of choral sound and large-scale choral composition.
In the age of 12 Veljo Tormis came to Tallinn to study music and after a year of private lessons he was accepted to the organ class at the Conservatory. In 1951 he continued his studies as a composer at the Moscow Conservatory with Prof Vissarion Shebalin, graduating in 1956. Shebalin supported his student’s interest in national style based on the use of folk music. Returning to Tallinn he taught music theory and composition at the Music School. In 1959 he lead a student expedition to a small Estonian island of Kihnu. The group happened to attend a real traditional wedding with old folk songs and dances. The enchanting effect of this event was so strong that it changed Tormis’ relationship to the use of folk material. But crucial, in that respect, was his acquaintance with the music and writings of Béla Bartók, analyses of choral songs by Zoltán Kodály after a visit to Hungary in 1962 that changed the musical language of Tormis. One of his most popular cycles Looduspildid (Nature Pictures) was written under those impressions. Some years later Tormis finished his first great cycle Eesti kalendrilaulud (Estonian Calendar Songs, 1967) for a male and a female chorus, in which the primeval enchanting power of ancient folk tunes used as the material for original choral composition was fully exposed. That was the starting point for “real” Tormis style as we know it now, thirty years later, and several cycles of great choral compositions based on ancient folk songs of different peoples followed.
In the 1970s the scope of Tormis’ search for archaic material widened, first including the closest Balto-Finnic people, but soon some commissions led him to different traditions. From one side, the driving force has been his attention to the quality of text, his care that the meaning of the text should be essential for singers. But not less important was a deep conviction that the ancient song traditions of different people have something in common, they all belong to a way of life that was more close to nature, they contain old beliefs, morals and ethics.
Prof Urve Lippus