Tubin, Sink, Tamberg & JŸrisalu

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COMPOSERS: Sink,Tamberg & Járisalu,Tubin
LABELS: Finlandia
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Musica Triste
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Maarika Järvi (flute); Tallinn CO/Kristjan Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: 0927-42991-2
The title, ‘Musica triste’ (sad music), is deceptive. Yes, Eino Tamberg’s piece of that name is one of the more impressive things on this disc of Estonian music for flute and orchestra. But if you’re expecting a collection of dark, pensive Nordic studies, the light, even capricious mood of the concertos by Eduard Tubin and Heino Jürisalu will surprise. Even Tamberg’s Musica triste struck me as more nocturnally atmospheric than sad. This may be partly because flautist Maarika Järvi is such a vibrant musical personality, as well as being technically stunning. Perhaps she could have brought a melancholic inflection to the Tamberg, but I enjoyed her rendition just as it is. In fact what comes over in the three Soviet-era pieces is how buoyant the mood generally seems to be – no cries of protest or quiet confessions of despair. Of course the musical language is conservative for the times – as the Soviet authorities would have insisted – but the blending of ‘acceptable’ 20th-century influences like Hindemith and Honegger with more personal and local stylistic elements can be very pleasing, as is Tamberg’s gentle post-modernism. Maarika Järvi gets the fine support she deserves from the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and conductor Kristjan Järvi – before long, someone is going to have to invent a collective noun for Järvis. Stephen Johnson