WORKS: Collage sur BACH; Fratres; Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten; Summa; Festina lente; Tabula rasa
PERFORMER: Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow
CATALOGUE NO: CD-834
‘Searching for Roots’ is a surprising disc: with this line-up, one might expect a litany of dirges from a Baltic backwater, but instead it provides a snapshot of postwar musical developments of a much more international kind.
Tubin (1905-82) spent most of his life in exile in Stockholm, completing ten symphonies and just the first movement of his Eleventh. Here we are nearer to the sound-world of Tippett than to the Finnish or Soviet symphonists.
Beneath the clattering surfaces of Pärt’s early Nekrolog, the austere, almost Stravinskian sonorities and syncopated dissonances and the massive swinging chords of the First Symphony, there lies that well of resonant stillness that was to submerge his more frenetic inventions. What was extrovert and bleak has become more tender, more forgiving, as shown in the inspired performances of his later string works by the Tapiola Sinfonietta.
Tüür, the youngest Estonian, has yet to find his real voice. In Searching for Roots and Insula deserta, repeated string motifs are swept up into electronic showers. These are attractive works with a tangible Adams influence, but too often Tüür resorts to mannerisms – speeding up repeated cells, ending climaxes with high-pitched electronics – in order to move the music forwards. Crystallisatio (on ECM) makes a better introduction to his work. Helen Wallace