Toivo Tulev: Songs (2008)

Tulev

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Paul Hillier

Songs. Around 2004-5, while Tulev was composer in residence with the EPCC, I proposed that he write an extended new work for us, and ventured to suggest that it might be a polychoral piece with various groups of singers and instruments distributed around the concert venue. The work he came up with certainly matched this idea, but it also exceeded my expectations in every way. The music was designed for the resonant, airy acoustics of the ‘Niguliste’ (St Nicholas church) where the premiere was to be held, and the performers are in fact spaced out in the form of a cross:
The text is a collage created by the composer from various sources: the Bible in both English (the King James version) and Latin translations (Neo Vulgata) of the Song of Songs; and two poems, Cantico espiritual (Spiritual Canticle) and Coplas del alma que pena por ver a Dios (Stanzas of the Soul that Suffers with Longing to See God), by St John of the Cross. Along with the original text in Spanish, selected passages of the English translation by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez are used.

 

These texts, expressing spiritual longing in the terminology of physical desire, seem perfect for the music – even though it may be odd to express it that way around. The words are in three languages – English, Latin and Spanish; says Tulev: ‘The overlapping of languages works like a commentary, re-interpreting the original. When we aren’t listening to our principal language the process of translating forms a kind of gap between the object and the new language, and this gap is filled with interpretation even while we are listening to it. The process of translation gives time for this and raises the activity above the normal.’
The small orchestra includes recorder and duduk (a Eurasian wind instrument somewhat akin to the oboe). The duduk’s longing quality is well suited to the poems, and the players improvise embellishments, drawing on the background that they share with the composer) in early music performance. The work, which is dedicated to the writer, was premiered in October 2005 as part of the NYYD (‘NEW’) festival. 

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Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Tõnu Kaljuste founded the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in 1981 as a professional successor to his father Heino Kaljuste's amateur chamber choir Ellerhein. The younger Kaljuste nurtured the ensemble as its principal conductor and artistic director for 20 years, focusing the group's programs and recordings on music by Estonian composers, primarily Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis, although its full repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant and gems of the Baroque and Classical periods to contemporary compositions. The EPCC won the top prize at the 1991 Takarazuka Chamber Choir Competition in Japan and received its first Grammy nomination two years later for Te Deum. Under Paul Hillier (2001-2007), the ensemble's reputation grew more widely, even as he expanded its repertoire. Under his direction, it produced a highly praised series of recordings entitled Baltic Voices and won a Grammy in 2006 for Da Pacem. It performs and records with the world's leading conductors and orchestras and has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial collaboration with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. In 2008, Daniel Reuss became the EPCC's chief conductor and artistic director. Their first recording together was of Frank Martin's oratorio Golgotha, released in 2010.

Paul Hillier

His musical interests range from medieval to contemporary music and include singing, conducting, and writing. In 1990, after many years as Music Director of the Hilliard Ensemble, he founded the Theatre of Voices and began his series of acclaimed recordings for harmonia mundi usa. From 1996 to 2003, Hillier was Director

of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. In September, 2001 he was named Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, with which he launched
a cycle of recordings exploring the choral tradition of the Baltic Sea countries. Baltic Voices 1 and Baltic Voices 2 met with unanimous praise and each won Hillier a Grammy® nomination.The Powers of Heaven, a much-admired pro- gram of Russian Orthodox sacred music, was followed by Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, Op. 37 and, most recently, by Baltic Voices 3. In 2004 Paul Hillier was awarded the Estonian Cultural Prize.

In 2002 he was made Honorary Professor in Music
at the University of Copenhagen, and in 2003 accepted the post of Chief Conductor of Vocal Group Ars Nova (Copenhagen). Hillier is the author of a monograph “Arvo Pa?rt” (1997) and editor of “The Collected Writings of Steve Reich” (2002), both published by Oxford University Press. His latest project is a book about consort singing.

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Toivo Tulev: Songs (2008)

Tulev

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Mastering Engineer: Brad Michel
Producer: Brad Michel
Recording Engineer: Brad Michel, Chris Barrett
Recording location: St. Nicholas Church, Tallinn, Estonia
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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807452DI: Toivo Tulev: Songs
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Tracks.
1.
Songs (2005) - I. By night
Tulev
00:03:04   Select quality & channels above
2.
Songs (2005) - II. Where have you hidden, Beloved
Tulev
00:02:23   Select quality & channels above
3.
Songs (2005) - III. This life that I live
Tulev
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4.
Songs (2005) - IV. Nigra sum
Tulev
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5.
Songs (2005) - V. Behold, thou art fair
Tulev
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6.
Songs (2005) - VI. I am come into my garden
Tulev
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7.
Songs (2005) - VII. Reveal, reveal your presence
Tulev
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8.
Songs (2005) - VIII. Mira que la dolencia de amor
Tulev
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9.
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt I
Tulev
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10.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!
Tulev
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11.
Leave, alas, this tormenting
Tulev
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12.
Jusquez au printemps
Tulev
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13.
Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt II
Tulev
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