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Veljo Tormis - Curse Upon Iron

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Catalogue numberBIS-SACD-1993
Release date2012-07-01
Discs1
Orig. sample rate96000Hz

Music Web International: Recording of the Month, January 2013.

A modern shaman is how Veljo Tormis (b.1930) has been described. In his large production, chiefly composed for a cappella choir, he utilizes ancient chants and magic charms, as well as the typically Estonian runic songs, regilaulud. Indeed Curse upon Iron, his best-known score, even includes a shaman drum. Much of the music of Tormis, who began composing during the 1950s, mirrors his steadfast devotion to an Estonian identity in the face of Soviet occupation, with traditional ways of life, such as farming and fishing, resonating in pieces such as Helletused – based on ancient herding calls – Spell upon Flax (from the three Shrovetide songs) and Songs of the Ancient Sea. But there are also works, such as the two Hamlet’s Songs, that seem to echo the bleak mood of Soviet Estonia, while The Viru Oath is one of Tormis’s most overtly political compositions, written in 1980 during the so-called ‘stagnation period’ in which the thaw following Stalin’s death was halted. With Stars, from Kaksikpühendus (Double Dedication), the disc closes on a more lyrical and personal note – another strand in the composer’s rich repertoire. The informative liner notes to this selection of works for male-voice choir composed between 1962 and 1996 are by Mimi S. Daitz, author of a biography of Veljo Tormis. As she explains, even when Tormis does not use traditional tunes, he incorporates their scales and intervals into his melodies and harmonies, thus creating a unique sound. Divisions of voices into separate lines play an important part in Tormis’s orchestration of voices, and another characteristic is his rhythmic ingenuity. The various demands this places on the performers are amply fulfilled by Cecilia Rydinger Alin and Orphei Drängar, described in Choir and Organ as ‘a tremendous choir, with superb technique and an immense, expressive range’. Further variety is added by a number of guest soloists, including the internationally acclaimed soprano Elin Rombo.
 
Extra material for download
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Incantatio maris aestuosi (1996)
01 Incantatio maris aestuosi 05:57 $ 1.43 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Kord me tuleme tagasi (Meie varjud) (1969/1991)
02 Kord me tuleme tagasi (Meie varjud) (1969/1991) 03:26 $ 0.82 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Kolm mul oli kaunist sõna (1962)
03 Kolm mul oli kaunist sõna (1962) 06:09 $ 1.48 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Vastlalaulud (1967) 05:27
04 I. Vistel-vastel 01:24 $ 0.34 USD
05 II. Lina loitsimine 02:08 $ 0.51 USD
06 III. Liulaskmise-laul 01:55 $ 0.46 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Pikse litaania (1974)
07 Pikse litaania (1974) 05:27 $ 1.31 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Viru vanne (1980)
08 Viru vanne (1980) 04:22 $ 1.05 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Helletused (1982)
09 Helletused (1982) 08:20 $ 2.00 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Raua needmine (1972/1991)
10 Raua needmine (1972/1991) 10:47 $ 2.59 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Muistse mere laulud (1979)
11 Muistse mere laulud (1979) 09:49 $ 2.36 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Hamleti laulud (1964) 08:32
12 I. Meri tõmbus endasse… 05:38 $ 1.35 USD
13 II. Jah, olla, olla, tingimata olla… 02:54 $ 0.70 USD
 
 
  Composer: Tormis, Veljo
  Kaksikpühendus (Diptühhon) (1983) 04:26
14 I. Ühte laulu tahaks laulda 01:37 $ 0.39 USD
15 II. Tähed 02:49 $ 0.68 USD
 
  Album total 01:12:42
ComposerTormis, Veljo
ConductorRydinger Alin, Cecilia
Male choirOrphei Drängar
ChoirOrphei Drängar

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