Veljo Tormis: Vision of Estonia II

Alba Records NCD 20

Recorded at the Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, Estonia during May 16 to 19 and on October 23, 2002 under the supervision of the composer. Released in April, 2004 (Finland) and available May 17, 2004 (in the rest of Europe and via international mailorder/internet online stores).

Recording, editing & mastering: Maido Maadik; Recording assistant: Meelis Pungas; Cover photos: Tõnu Tormis; Other photos: Harri Rospu; Booklet editor: Anu Huntsaar; Graphic design: Simo Ruottinen; Producer: Vello Mäeots; Executive producer: Timo Ruottinen.

Compositions by Veljo Tormis (1930-)

Track 1. Maarjamaa ballaad (The Ballad of Mary's Land) (Text: Jaan Kaplinski) (1969) (5:13)

Mõtisklusi Hando Runneliga (Reflections with Hando Runnel) (Text: Hando Runnel) (1981/2002) (5:41)

Track 2. Üks väga vana rahvas... (A Very Ancient People...) (1:20)

Track 3. Kas leiduks lohtu... (Is There Solace...) (2:07)

Track 4. Ei ole Mekat meil... (We have No Mecca...) (1:11)

Track 5. Veel seitsesada aastat... (Another Seven Hundred Years...) (1:03)

Lindpriiuse päevad (Days of Outlawry) (Text: Hando Runnel) (1971/1979) (6:02)

Track 6. Päikest ei olnud (There Was No Sun) (2:09)

Track 7. Vennad (Brothers) (1:35)

Track 8. Ja siiski armastage (And Nevertheless, Love) (2:18)

Track 9. Varjele, Jumala, soasta (God Protect Us From War) for male chorus and tam-tam (Text in Finnish from Kanteletar II 323,326) (1984) (5:50)

Track 10. Sõjakulleri sõit (Journey of the War Messenger) (Text: from the epic "Kalevipoeg") (1984) (5:33)

Track 11. Jäta päike paistma! (Let the Sun Shine!) (Text: from the epic "Kalevipoeg") (1984/1992) (1:50)

Track 12. Hääled Tammsaare karjapõlvest (Voices from Tammsaare's Herdboy Days) documentary cantata for male chorus, soloists, fonogram and percussion (Songs and calls as sung by Anton Hansen Tammsaare's sister Marta Hansen in 1971) (1977) (9:41)

Track 13. Meeslespea in memoriam Gustav Ernesaks (Forget-me-not) (1993/1996) (4:25)

Meestelaulud (Men's Songs) Series I (Text: from folklore arr. by Paul Eerik Rummo) (1964) (10:38)

Track 14. Meeste laul (Men's Song) (1:47)

Track 15. Ehalkäimise-laul (Bundling Song) (2:19)

Track 16. Kosjalaul (Bethrothal Visit Song) (3:24)

Track 17. Viinalaul (Drinking Song) (1:53)

Track 18. Türgi sõja laul (Song of the Turkish War) (1:15)

Meestelaulud (Men's Songs) Series II (Text: from folklore arr. by Paul Eerik Rummo) (1965) (12:31)

Track 19. Meremehe-laul (Sailor's Song) (2:04)

Track 20. Teomehe-laul (Serf's Song) (2:43)

Track 21. Tantsulaul (Dancing Song) (2:25)

Track 22. Lorilaul (Bawdy Song) (1:27)

Track 23. Ümberküla-laul (Village Song) (3:52)

Estonian National Male Choir / Ants Soots

Origins, Commissions, Dedications and Awards

Maarjamaa ballaad (The Ballad of Mary's Land) was written for a 1969 competition to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Estonian State Academic Male Choir (founded by Gustav Ernesaks in 1944) and it won the 1st Prize.

Mõtisklusi Hando Runneliga (Reflections with Hando Runnel), from 1981, is one of several short cycles of songs with sarcastic or other sharp tongued texts which were written by Veljo Tormis in reaction to the period of stagnation and russification during the Brezhnev era (late 70's/early 80's) of the Soviet occupation of Estonia.

Lindpriiuse päevad (Days of Outlawry) had its origins as music composed for the 1971 film "Lindpriid" (The Outlaws) by Vladimir Karassev-Orgusaar (sometimes identified as Georg-Vladimir Karasjov).

Varjele, Jumala, soasta (God Protect Us From War), Sõjakulleri sõit (Journey of the War Messenger) and Jäta päike paistma! (Let the Sun Shine!)

Hääled Tammsaare karjapõlvest (Voices from Tammsaare's Herdboy Days) was composed in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Estonian writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare's (1878-1940) birth. A.H.Tammsaare's 5 volume novel "Tõde ja õigus" (Truth and Justice) (1926-1933) is considered one of the pinnacles of Estonian literature. Originally, the fonogram/gramophone part of the score required the playing of the small 7" disc entitled A.H. Tammsaare (Melodiya M92-40245-6 from 1977) on which the writer's sister Marta Hansen sings the Estonian folksong "Nuttev tamm" (The weeping oak tree). This occurs near the beginning and at the very end of the work. In more recent times, a tape or other recording is commonly used instead.

Meelespea (Forget-me-not) was written to commemorate the great Estonian choral leader Gustav Ernesaks (1908-1993) who was the founder of the Estonian State Academic Male Choir (which is the forerunner of the present day Estonian National Male Choir) in 1944. The work was originally composed for a mixed choir but was also rearranged for male choir in 1996 at the request of the leading Canadian/Estonian choral figure Roman Toi. The basic motif of the song is taken from same-titled work by Gustav Ernesaks.

Meestelaulud (Men's Songs) was written for the RAM (Estonian acronym for Riiklik Akadeemiline Meeskoor/State Academic Male Choir) Youth Chorus and also was presented as a stage performance in 1966 at the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu, Estonia.

Music Publishers

(work in progress)

Other Points of Interest and Links

1. The CD contains booklet notes in English and Estonian by Professor Urve Lippus of the Estonian Music Academy about Veljo Tormis and the works on this CD, and on the Estonian National Male Choir and their conductor Ants Soots. Full texts of the works are provided in their original languages (Estonian, Finnish) and in English translations by Enn Soosaar, Krista Kaer, Kaja Kappel, Jüri Kurman (edited by Kristin Kuutma), and Kristin Kuutma.

2. The website of the record company is http://www.alba-records.fi/. This recording can be purchased from Amazon Germany and Amazon UK as of May 17, 2004.