mon 08/08/2022

Estonia

theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2022 - conductors from 15 to 85, and the greatest players

When I first came to Estonia with a then still-exiled Neeme Järvi and his Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in 1989, the world-class young musicians who dazzled at this year’s Pärnu Music Festival hadn’t been born.A new Estonian musical golden age is...

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theartsdesk in Estonia: Tallinn-Narva Music Week review - solidarity through music on the Russian border

The gentleman in the centre of the picture above is Ivan Dorn. In Ukraine, he’s a pop star. A big pop star. His music, as he puts it on stage during the show opening Tallinn-Narva Music Week, is “pure Ukrainian house music.” Yep, there’s the bing-...

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Sounds of Estonia, Kings Place review - one of the world's great choirs on spellbinding form

The history of Estonia has been described as “a story set to song”. The Estonian activist Heinz Valk called singing “our nation’s most glorious form of self-expression.” There are, of course, other nations where singing is seen as an expression of...

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Album: Maarja Nuut - Hinged

Hinged ends with “Moment,” a vaporous mood piece where a reflective voice lightly floats over and weaves between two, three-note keyboard arpeggios, occasional Gamelan-style percussive interjections and odd bubbling sounds. “Moment of clarity” are...

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theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2020 – great live orchestra, ecstatic audience

“At the Pärnu Music Festival 2020” were words I never expected to type. A fortnight ago Estonia finally upped its non-quarantinable country rate from 15 to 16 infections in every 100,000 people (the UK was then on 15.9; our unfathomable Foreign...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Eller, Musorgsky, Rachmaninov

 Heino Eller: Symphonic Poems – Night Calls, White Night, Twilight, Dawn Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Olari Elts (Ondine)Heino Eller was described as the ‘Estonian Sibelius’ in the first decades of the last century. Predictably, the...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Olari Elts in Tallinn

Arriving in Tallinn hotfoot from Paavo Järvi's inaugural concert as chief conductor of Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, and expecting the limelight to belong to composer Erkki-Sven Tüür on his 60th birthday, I found another Estonian bonus in store. Not...

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theartsdesk in Zurich and Tallinn: celebrating great Estonians

Culturally, "the little country that could" - as Estonia's ex-Prime Minister and historian Mart Laar dubbed it - punches well above its weight. While it educates the young with a musical instrument made available to every child, Estonia continues to...

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theartsdesk at the Pärnu Music Festival 2019 - super-orchestra, top clarinettists, transcendent strings

Little has changed about Pärnu, with its concentric rings of eight-mile sandy beach and dunes, wooded gardens and wooden old town, in the five years I've been going there. It came as a bit of a shock to find that voters in the region favoured the...

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theartsdesk in Tallinn and Tartu: Estonian Music Days go global

First under Soviet rule, then in the remarkable flourishing of a liberated nation, Estonian contemporary music has held its independent head high and showcased it, under the aegis of the Estonian Composers' Union, first for a few days and now for...

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DVD/Blu-ray: November

Life in rural 19th century Estonia looks hard. The ice and the squalor are tough enough, but then you’ve the kratts to contend with. We see one in the eye-popping opening sequence of Rainer Sarnet’s 2017 epic November, an unsettling creature cobbled...

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Mullova, Philharmonia, Järvi, RFH review – clear paths through the forest

Visit Ainola, Sibelius’s woodland house by Lake Tuusula north of Helsinki, and you’ll be told the story of the green stove. It appears that the famously synaesthetic Finnish composer identified the shade of his heating installation with the key of F...

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