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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b.1959)
Conversio for violin and piano (1994) [10.53]
Architectonics III Postmetaminimal Dream (1990) [9.04]
Architectonics IV Per cadenza ad Metasimplicity (1990) [9.33]
Lighthouse (1997) [14.03]
Symphony No. 2 (1986-87) [26.53]
Gidon Kremer (violin)
Vadim Sacharov (piano)
The Nyyd Ensemble/Olari Elts (Architectonics)
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra/Juha Kangas (Lighthouse)
USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mägi (Symphony)
rec. 1994-2000 DDD
WARNER APEX 2564 60115-2 [71.16]

Tüür is an Estonian, largely self-taught, who studied with Rääts and Sumera. In 1979 he founded a chamber rock group 'In spe' which went on to find chart fame in Estonia.

Conversio is seriously minimalist with chaffing Irish style fiddle playing and a ceilidh-stomp rhythm. Reich's Variations represent a kindred spirit. This is extremely emphatic music superbly carried off by Kremer taking a holiday from Schnittke. If Pärt can have his Spiegel im Spiegel then Tüür can this. Then come the two Architectonics pieces. These follow tracks associated with the 1970s ‘ivory tower’ pioneers. III has large shards of minimalism amid dissolute helpings of gamelan patterning and archetypical avant-garderie. At first IV ‘messes’, most creatively, with Mozartian material in Mozartian manner in much the same way that Schnittke played games with Bachian writing. This contrasts with later nightmarish synthesiser caterwaulings and gruff bassoon and saxophone melisma. Lighthouse refers to the Stravinsky quote about composers who stand as lighthouses to future generations. Tüür's ‘lighthouse’ is Bach and although he does not quote there are moments where the manner is alluded to. It is all fairly modernist stuff but then at 4.08 comes a Tippett-like ecstatic convulsion of string writing. This resolves into a pattering aggression and lyrical melt-down that is part-Hovhaness and part-Holst Brook Green! The Symphony is from the final days of the Soviety ascendancy. It is in two movements: Vision (6.24) and Process (20.29). Here there is no sign of minimalism. Rather, in Vision, we are immersed in the raging unsettling warfare of fanfare and defiance with a Pendereckian balm in the breath of string writing and the whisper of woodwind that ends the movement. Process has a stalwart Sibelian tight ostinato (1.03), a Bartókian brusqueness risen into a Great Gate of Kiev style climactic statement (6.03). Tough stuff and difficult to hear as an articulate continuum. Not without lyrical sustenance and with burgeoning invention along the way.

May Apex long continue their revival of the Warner family catalogue. The Finlandia ‘Meet the Composer’ series should provide rich pickings for them. However my prime recommendation is of a major piece by Uuno Klami. Klami's Psalmus was once available on a full price Finlandia. It is an astoundingly alive and exciting work. How about reisssuing that coupled with the Kalevala Suite and the superb Cheremissian Fantasy? Wonderful stuff.

The present collection covers the 1980s and 1990s and marks the emergence onto the worldstage as enabled by Perestroika.

Rob Barnett



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