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|A1||A Chant Of Bamboo for bamboo flute, percussion and string orchestra||18:16|
|A2||Forty-two for oboe and chamber orchestra||5:03|
|B1||The White Concerto for guitar and orchestra (I, II, III)||16:29|
|B2||Mystical Uniting, arrangement for flute, violin, guitar, 2 tānpūrās and strings||9:19|
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Slava Grigoryan – guitar, Australia (B1, B2)
Neeme Punder – flute (B2), bamboo flute (A1)
Harry Traksmann – violin (B2)
Andres Uibo – organ (A2)
Nils Rõõmussaar – oboe (A2)
Kaido Kelder, Peeter Vähi – tānpūrās (B2)
Conductor Risto Joost
Live recording in Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, March 16th, 2006
Engineered by Tanel Klesment / Estonian Radio
Designed by Piret Mikk
Liner notes by Tiina Jokinen
Published by ERP (A1), Edition 49, Germany (B1, B2)
A Chant Of Bamboo, fragm, live rec, 2 min 59 sec, mp3
Forty-Two, fragm, 1 min 17 sec, mp3
Mystical Uniting, fragm, 1 min 52 sec, mp3
Special thanks: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Slava Grigoryan, Neeme Punder, Risto Joost, Eesti Kontsert, Tallinn Philharmonic Society, Estonian Radio, Andres Uibo, Elle Himma
A well-known notion in history is “the Renaissance Man” – an accomplished person with versatile talents. In our busy world of today, we are probably all secretly wondering where this race has disappeared. Where are the people who were capable of creating masterpieces of fine arts, composing interesting music and being successful scientists? Has the world really become “boringly specialised”?
Fortunately, the harmoniously versatile people still exist among us, a good example being Peeter Vähi. As a composer he is first and foremost of traditional academic background but not only… His creative range is somewhat wider than just European classical. It is probably not so surprising that he was the leader and keyboarder of a rock-band in his younger days – it is getting to be a more common phenomenon among the composers of his generation –, though in his case the band Vitamiin was a highly reputed one in the former USSR giving approximately 250 (!) concerts annually in the course of 12 years.
However, much less common for a European classical composer is the Asian theme which Vähi exploits with a natural self-confidence. Among his works are cantatas composed on ritual Sanskrit (Green Tārā) and Tibetan (Supreme Silence) texts as well as on Basho’s haikus in Japanese (Chrysanthemum Garden Chant). Unless one is aware of the composer’s profound knowledge of Eastern, especially Buddhist philosophy as well as his religious convictions – Tibetan Buddhism since many years –, this could sound as a hollow try to follow the general trend.
Should one still doubt the seriosity of Vähi’s creative intentions, it would be a good idea to glimpse at his less internationally known sides. His home audience in Estonia knows Peeter Vähi also as a seasoned traveler in the East and his articles and lectures on Asian culture, religion and history claim a huge fan club. In his music foreign philosophies intertwine with his Northern roots. Many of his works have actually been composed under exotic starry skies: Supreme Silence in a Tibetan monastery; Green Tārā on the backwaters of Kerala in South India; A Chant Of Bamboo in Masai Mara in Africa – to name just a few.
And last but not least, Vähi is an amateur photographer with an exceptionally sharp and keen eye whose photo exhibitions are events by themselves.
for bamboo flute and chamber orchestra (2002 / 2003)
This work unites two passions of the author − his love for the East and for the flute. A Chant of Bamboo was commissioned by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and was premiered by Hiroyuki Koinuma at the opeNBaroque festival. Since then it has been performed both in Europe and Japan. The solo instrument here is the so-called 6 hon-choshi tuned (could be provisionally compared with B-flat major) Japanese uta-shinobue. The technical range of this instrument has put relatively strict limitations for the solo part, namely contrary to the regular metal flute, it is almost impossible to play most of the chromatic scale on shinobue. However, this limitation seems to have helped the author to achieve a peculiar musical landscape of Japanese-coloured intonations. One more instrument of Eastern origin in this work is a hanging metal plate that the composer has reserved for the conductor to play.
Like in so many other works by Vähi, the Eastern and Western traditions are here united not by first and foremost the choice of instruments but in the sense of aesthetics and musical ideas.
for oboe, organ and chamber orchestra (1984 / 1997)
Forty-two is one of those few real hits by Peeter Vähi that has been performed live several hundred times, arranged by the author himself as well as other composers and musicians for most different musical staffs − guitar and organ, trumpet and organ, handbell ensemble, vocal soloist and chamber choir, string orchestra − to name just a few.
The birth of this work dates back to the early age of the composer, the initial version being a song with a text. After that it was arranged as an instrumental piece for his rock-band, and only in 1997, the composer himself being 42 years of age, the present-day version emerged.
If at all in music a work could be classified as autobiographic, then it is Forty-two. Several musical geniuses have left this world prematurely and among them unproportionally many at the age of 42. Why has that year been fatal for so many − especially − men? Is it the middle-age crisis? Or the inability to exit a creative labyrinth?
Forty-two has been dedicated to the American, French and Russian idols Elvis Presley, Joe Dassin and Vladimir Vysotsky that did not live to celebrate their 43rd birthday.
for guitar and chamber orchestra (1991)
The White Concerto is the first concerto for the acoustic guitar and orchestra by an Estonian composer, commissioned in 1992 for European Culture Days. The three-movement concerto makes for easy listening with its undercurrent of Spanish colouring and subtle hints of the composer’s past as a rock-musician.
for flute, violin, guitar and chamber orchestra (1991 / 2006)
Mystical Uniting was initially composed for ensemble Camerata – flute, violin and guitar. This is maybe the most frequently recorded work by Peeter Vähi and not only in its original version. One can find CDs with arrangements for flute and guitar, violin and guitar and even for bassoon in combination with chanting Tibetan Buddhist monks. The recording on the present LP contains a new version again, namely with Indian tānpūrās and a reduced chamber orchestra. Truth be told the role of the orchestra is relatively modest – to create the bourdon characteristic of classical Indian rāgas. The composer has written a strict score only for the three solo instruments; tānpūrās, the orchestra and the conductor are all given the freedom to improvise.
Slava Grigoryan was born in 1976 in Kazakhstan and immigrated with his family to Australia in 1981. As a major prizewinner at the Tokyo International Classical Guitar Competition, Slava was signed by Sony Music under the Sony Classical Label in 1995 and has since released 4 solo albums. Reviewing his New York debut, the New York Times said: “A remarkable recital…, what comes across here is guitar playing of uncommon originality and authority”. Slava Grigoryan has performed at many national and international Festivals such as the Brighton International Festival, the Harrogate International Arts Festival, Dresden Musikfestspiel, the Newbury Festival in the UK, the Guitar Festival of Great Britain, the Darwin International Guitar Festival, the GFA Festival in La Jolla, California, the Wirral International Guitar Festival, the Glasperlenspiel Festival in Estonia, the Al Bustan Festival in Beirut, the New Zealand Arts Festival and the Sydney Festival. He has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra, the Dresden Radio Orchestra and more recently the Klagenfurt Symphony Orchestra in Austria and the Halle Orchestra in Manchester, UK. In 1998 Slava was named Young Australian of the Year for the Arts, and in 2000 he appeared as soloist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra as part of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Arts Festival. He is also a member of Australian Guitar Quartet Saffire.
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra was founded in1993. The conductor Tõnu Kaljuste has bounded the widely well-known Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with TCO’s activities. The members of the orchestra are all outstanding musicians, who often perform as soloists and are invited to perform with various other orchestras and ensembles.
TCO has performed in many prestigious music festivals: Bach Cantatas Festival in Milan, Bremen Music Festival, Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, Glasperlenspiel, etc. Concert tours have taken the orchestra and the choir to Canada, the USA, Japan and to many European countries.
The orchestra’s instrumental programs have been prepared mainly together with guest conductors including Richard Tognetti, Terje Tonnesen, Patrick Strub, Valentin Zhuk, Silvio Barbato, Samuel Wong, Olari Elts and Paul Mägi. In 1995–96 the artistic director and chief conductor of the orchestra was Juha Kangas, from 1996–97 to 2000–01 it has been Tõnu Kaljuste, the present artistic director is Eri Klas.
In 1993, TCO and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir recorded the CD Te Deum. For a year, this record has been on the world’s Top Ten list and has gained exalting appraisals from the critics. Crystallisatio by Erkki-Sven Tüür and Litany by Arvo Pärt were released by ECM in 1996, and another record by ECM Neenia released in 2001 is music for strings by Heino Eller.
Conductor and singer Risto Joost (b 1980) studied singing as well as choral and orchestral conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music, and received further training at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He has participated in the conducting masterclasses of Neeme Järvi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Eri Klas, Paul Mägi and in early music masterclasses with Paul Hillier and Nigel North. Since 2005 he is studying orchestral conducting with Prof Jorma Panula at the Royal College of Music, Stockholm.
In 1999 Risto Joost founded the chamber choir Voces Musicales. In 2001–02, he was a singer of Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In 2002, he founded his own orchestra, Ensemble Voces Musicales which is focused on performing Baroque and contemporary music. In 2004, Risto Joost won the 1st prize at the 4th Competition for Young Estonian Choral Conductors. He has conducted the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tallinn Baroque Orchestra, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Male Choir RAM, Swedish Radio Choir, Ars Nova Copenhagen, etc.
Risto Joost also pursues an active career as a counter-tenor. His solo repertoire includes music of the Renaissance and Baroque period as well as 20th cent. He has performed at the Steve Reich Festival (UK), Vantaa Early Music Festival (Finland), Stockholm Early Music Festival (Sweden), Riga Early Music Festival (Latvia), Nyyd Festival (Estonia). Since 2003 he has been involved with the vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices (artistic director Paul Hillier). In 2007 he made his debut in the Estonian National Opera conducting opera Wallenberg by Erkki-Sven Tüür.
Risto Joost is the chief conductor of Tallinn Sinfonietta and the Netherlands Chamber Choir, also the artistic adviser of Glasperlenspiel Music Festival.
The presentation of the record in “Hi-Fi Klubi”, 2006, photo by Kalev Lilleorg (SL Õhtuleht)
Worldwide distribution by Europe RCD, www.russiancdschop.com
See other records with Tallinn Chamber Orchestra: Celestials, Musica triste, Bassoon Concertos, Enter Denter
See other records with participation of Neeme Punder: The Flutish Kingdom, The Hand Of God, Ave…, To His Highness Salvador D, 2000 Years After The Birth Of Christ
See other records of Risto Joost: Maria Magdalena, Pilgrim’s Song, De spe, Bassoon Concertos
See other records of Peeter Vähi: Maria Magdalena, Supreme Silence, Tamula Fire Collage, The Path To The Heart Of Asia, Handbell Symphony, Sounds Of The Silver Moon