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Musica Triste Ė Estonian Flute Concertos
Eduard TUBIN (1905-1982) Concerto for flute and string orchestra
Kundar SINK (1942-95) Concertino for flute, strings and percussion (1960)
Eino TAMBERG (b.1930) Musica triste for flute, vibraphone and strings, op. 85 (1991)
Heino JÜRISALU (1930-91) Concerto for flute and orchestra (1969)
Maarika Järvi, flute
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Kristjan Järvi
Recorded Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia, 7th September, 2000 (Tubin), 6th September 2000 (Sink), 1st April, 2001 (Tamberg), 5th September 2000 (Tamberg).
FINLANDIA 0927-42991 [59:07]


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Tubin is the only composer in this collection who is likely to be familiar to listeners this far West. Donít let this put you off, though, for all the music on this CD is of a high standard and well worth repeated hearings. Maarika Järvi, the redoubtable flute soloist, and her accompanying musicians of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, give superbly secure and musically intelligent readings of all four works Ė no mean feat, with music as challenging and diverse as this.

Maarika and Kristjan are, as you might have suspected, members of the well-known Järvi clan, headed by father Neeme, the distinguished conductor. I suppose itís creditable that their biographies in the booklet make no mention of the connection, though in fact I would say that this kind of information is quite naturally of interest to music lovers, and really should be included. That aside, this disc is yet another example of the wealth of musical activity in the tiny Baltic state of Estonia.

The Tubin Concerto is a re-working of a piece originally written, apparently, for flute and ícello. This is quite hard to believe, so convincing does it sound in this form, and so idiomatic is the string writing in support of the wide-ranging, expressive flute part. Two thoughtful, searching outer movements enclose a lively central scherzo-like movement.

Itís interesting to compare the next two works, the Kundar Sink Concertino and Eino Tambergís Musica Triste Ė ĎSad Musicí. Both combine flute, strings and percussion; the Sink, though is a cheerful, somewhat neo-Classical piece, in which the percussion are there largely to add a little exotic colouring, which they do to good effect. The Tamberg, on the other hand, is a far more original work, in which the composer creates wonderfully evocative textures, in turn powerfully suggesting moods and atmospheres. To me, the prevailing feeling is one of mystery rather than sadness, but Iím not going to quarrel with this very talented composer! Suffice it to say that this is a satisfying and beautiful piece. Itís very visual music, too, by which I mean it could easily be a film score, and no bad thing.

The concluding Jürisalu Concerto also makes much use of percussion, though it doesnít specify this in the title. Thereís also a prominent piano part, and all in all, this is probably the easiest listening on the disc. All through, Maarika Järvi plays with complete technical fluency, and a confident grasp of the style and character of each work. This disc, though probably pretty specialised in its appeal, deserves a wide audience Ė this is fine music, beautifully played and captured with unobtrusive skill by the engineers.

Gwyn Parry-Jones


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