Tubin is the only composer in this collection who is likely
to be familiar to listeners this far West. Don’t 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 –
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 it’s 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 ’cello. 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.
It’s interesting to compare the next two works, the
Kundar Sink Concertino and Eino Tamberg’s Musica Triste –
‘Sad Music’. 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 I’m not going to
quarrel with this very talented composer! Suffice it to say that this
is a satisfying and beautiful piece. It’s 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 doesn’t specify this in the title. There’s
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 – this is fine music, beautifully played and
captured with unobtrusive skill by the engineers.