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Toivo TULEV (b. 1958)
Quella sera (1996) [11:10]; Gare de l'Est (1999) [10:54]; Adios/Srī Rāma in memoriam (2003) [13:25]; Isopo (2003) [7:21]; Be Lost in the Call (2003) [11:34]
NYYD Ensemble/Olari Elts
rec. Eesti Raadio Studio One, 21 Nov 1998 (Quella); 11 Apr 2003 (Lost); Estonia Concert Hall, 5,8 Feb 2004 (Isopo); 25 Feb 2004 (Adios); 26 Feb 2004 (Gare)


Tulev studied with Eino Tamberg at the Tallinn Conservatory. He then spent time as a pupil of Sandström and attended a course on electro-acoustic music at Köln.

The music is ruminative and largely undramatic; not that there isn't variety. However this is music where the tone is one of evolution without grand gestures or ictus. The text that inspired Quella Sera alludes to the mystery of the Communion. Among the tinkle of bell sounds long violin lines weave rather like Petterrsson at his most consolatory, poignant and piercing. There is more dissonance and angularity in Gare de l'Est - the Paris railway station for departures and arrivals from the East. Adios is dedicated to the memory of the Estonian born philosopher Tamma aka Srī Rāma (1911-2002).Wisps of Dufay-like melody, sung by a small choir and soloists, interleave with an active web of sound including roles for solo oboe and solo violin. All the while the piece is 'lifted' by long-held quiet violin notes played by the small ensemble. The occasional shards of oriental gesture in the first three pieces become more assertive in Isopo (Italian - a tender plant of graceful appearance and pleasurable fragrance). Be lost in the call is inspired by the words of the Persian poet whose words also drew music from Karol Szymanowski. Jalaluddin al-Rumi (1207-1273) wrote the poem set by Szymanowski in this Third Symphony Song of the Night. Once again the music is fractured, thrustful and variegated. Chattering lines and drama pressed home by the more assertive brass (one each of trumpet, trombone and horn) distinguish this piece. Water sounds weave in with a tape of a tenor intoning Cor Jesu Sacratissimum. The gong strokes towards the close and the grumbling heartbeat sustain a satisfying mystical groan and the suggestion of a journey into eternity.

Do you have a taste for Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs perhaps wishing for with a more modernistic fractured ‘apparatus’? Do you appreciate the long melancholy lines of a Pettersson symphony but hanker after shorter ‘paragraphs’ and more variety? Do you enjoy the orchestral works of Loris Tjeknavorian? Does your collection bristle with Kancheli discs from ECM. If so then do seek this out. It's language is tough, up to a point, but it casts a strong if contemplative spell.

The disc is well presented and documented and the sound is lucid yet carries the mystery forward with fidelity. So far as I can tell these are superb performances from all concerned.

Rob Barnett

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