Release: June 2023
EPCC, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Conductor Risto Joost
Soloists: Laur Eensalu, viola (1, 4, 10, 11); Marianne Pärna, alto (5); Yena Choi, soprano (11); Yena Choi, soprano; Triin Sakermaa, soprano; Marianne Pärna, alto; Maarja Helstein, alto (8); Mariliis Tiiter, soprano (12).
Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits (b. 1969) belongs to his country’s most prominent composers. His works are rich with delicate atmosphere possessing a particularly Northern feel combined with a romantic and Impressionistic touch. This new album by the award-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conductor Risto Joost is the final volume in a trilogy of works for choir and orchestra.
Moorland Elegies (ODE 1306-2), You Are Light and Morning (ODE 1363-2) and The Sound of Wings form a kind of a trilogy, albeit this was never a purpose in itself. All three works were performed first by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Risto Joost. The first two cycles are linked to the elements of earth and water. In this final part of the trilogy everything is carried by the element of air, and those existential themes which Tõnu Kõrvits has dealt with for decades in his works – nature, life, death, suffering, love – find a liberating and soaring solution. The composer has said that it is “the brightest work in the trilogy (...), which emanates the most light. It is a song of flying, of dreaming, of courage and unconditional love.”
One of the sources of inspiration for The Sound of Wings was Amelia Mary Earhart’s attempt to be the first woman in aviation history to fly around the globe together with navigator Fred Noonan, which was cut short whilst crossing the Pacific Ocean. On her specially adapted red Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart was supposed to make a last land stop on Howland Island, but due to a fault in the navigation system she was unable to find it. Neither Earhart or the remains of her plane have ever been found. Earhart’s last radio transmission – inspiring due to the steadiness and matter-of-factness of the pilot’s voice – gave the titles to the two instrumental parts of the work. The element of air, the wind, the emptiness, flight and liberation in the music are embodied by the solo viola. The flageolet passages of the solo viola, the trills, the motifs which sway up and down pass through the entire piece, introducing as well as completing it. Wind images painted through sound can also be found in the orchestra and choir parts. Kõrvits’ instrumentation is sensitive and imaginative, just like his extraordinary talent of using the choir in the most varied but always singing way.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (the EPCC) is one of the best-known Estonian music ensembles in the world. The choir was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who was its artistic director and chief conductor for twenty years. The repertoire of the choir extends from baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the work of Estonian composers, such as Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Galina Grigorjeva, Tõnu Kõrvits and introducing their output to the world. The choir has won the Grammy Award twice and has received 15 Grammy nominations. Other awards include the Gramophone Award, the Diapason d’Or, and Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra (TCO) Tallinn Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1993 by conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. In three decades it has become one of Estonia’s signature orchestras all over the world. TCO has gained regard for its artistically integral programmes, style-sensitive play and mastery of interpretation, TCO’s musicians are highly rated string players, who also regularly perform as soloists and chamber musicians. Tõnu Kaljuste was the orchestra’s chief conductor in 1993–1995, 1996–2001 and started again from September 2019. Finnish conductor Juha Kangas was the chief conductor in 1995–1996 and and artistic adviser in 2001–2003. 2013–2019 the orchestras chief conductor was Risto Joost. TCO has collaborated with John Storgårds, Pietari Inkinen, Kolja Blacher, Jaakko Kuusisto, Terje Tonnesen, Alexander Rudin, Florian Donderer, Peter Spissky, Dmitri Sinkovski as guest conductors and also Estonian conductors like Olari Elts, Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Kristjan Järvi, and many others.
Risto Joost is one of the most prominent and versatile conductors of his generation, pursuing an active career on concert and opera stages. The trained singer and Conductor-in-Residence of the Estonian National Opera has already held major artistic positions, such as Chief Conductor of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir from 2015 to 2019. Risto Joost has received numerous awards and accolades. He is a laureate of the Jorma Panula and Nikolai Malko conducting competitions (2012 and 2015, respectively). He has received the Music Award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment twice (2006, 2015), and in 2011, he received the Young Cultural Figure Award of the Republic of Estonia. In 2018, the music editors of the Estonian Public Broadcasting chose him as the Musician of the Year for upholding and promoting high values in music. He received the prize of the Gustav Ernesaks Foundation in 2021 and the Music Award of the Estonian Theatre Union in 2022.
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