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Veljo Tormis

Reminiscentiae w/TCO & EPCC, Tonu Kaljuste

Release Date: September 8, 2023

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1 The Tower Bell in My Village  
2 Worry Breaks the Spirit  
3 Melancholy Songs - I. The Singer's Childhood  
4 II. Maidens' Sorrow  
5 III. Orphan's Lament  
6 Reminiscentia - Autumn Landscapes - I. It is Late Summer  
7 II. Clouds Racing Across the Sky  
8 III. Pale Light  
9 IV. Painfully Red Leaves  
10 V. Wind Along the Heath  
11 VI. Cold Autumn Night  
12 VII. Sad Purple Heather  
13 Reminiscentia - Winter Patterns - I. Winter Morning  
14 II. Cold  
15 III. Blizzard  
16 IV. Northern Lights  
17 Reminiscentia - Spring Sketches - I. Spring Wind  
18 II. Buds Leafing Out  
19 III. Evening Sky  
20 IV. Under the Bird Cherry Tree  
21 V. Yellow Flame  
22 VI. In Late Spring  
23 Reminiscentia - Summer Motifs - I. Dry Weather  
24 II. Thunderstorm  
25 III. Summer Night  
26 Reminiscentia - Three I Had These Words of Beauty  
27 Hamlet's Songs I  
28 Herding Calls - Childhood Memories  
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The elemental power of ancient folk music was the life force that drove the compositions of Veljo Tormis (1930-2017). As the great Estonian composer famously said, “I do not use folk song. It is folk song that uses me.” This sentiment is echoed in definitive performances by the Estonian Philharmonic Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste, for decades one of Tormis’s closest musical associates. Four orchestral cycles celebrate the changing seasons: Autumn Landscapes, Winter Patterns, Spring Sketches, Summer Motifs. And three pieces – Worry Breaks The Spirit, Hamlet’s Songs and Herding Calls - feature new arrangements by Tõnu Kaljuste, continuing and commemorating Tormis’s work.

The album opens with The Tower Bell In My Village with words by Fernando Pessoa (recited and sung here in Estonian) that seem entirely pertinent in the context of this tribute. “Oh death, it’s a bend in the road/You can’t be seen when you’ve passed by/But still your steps continue.” For most of his life, Tormis’s music was little heard beyond his homeland – a situation that began to change with the release of Forgotten Peoples in 1992, and Litany to Thunder in 1999, both with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under Kaljuste. Meanwhile, his influence continues to spread with each passing year.

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