VŠhi, Sisask

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Sisask,Vähi
WORKS: Chant of the Celestial Lake
PERFORMER: Maarika Järvi (flute); Tallinn CO/Kristjan Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: 01712 (distr. Discord)
Believe me, I’ve tried to be positive about this. It is just possible that one day somebody will come up with a convenient label – like ‘neo-naivety’ – and it will all make sense. I have to concede that Maarika Järvi is an excellent flautist, with a pleasing tonal range, full command of a wide range of colouristic devices, and a general liveliness which does the music no harm at all. But without her I’m not sure I’d have been able to listen to the end. Peeter Vähi’s insipid cod-orientalism – overlaid with a whole gallery of soft-modernist sound effects (singing into the flute while playing, tapping the body of the cello, etc) – tries the patience most of all. Urmas Sisask’s Leonides is at least more single-minded, concentrating exhaustively on a much smaller range of motifs and devices, but it rarely rises above the pleasantly picturesque. All this on a disc which promises ‘a glance of invisible worlds blinking in musical imagery’. Yes, there are times when it is ‘the gift to be simple’, but surely that doesn’t mean you have to rule out subtlety and ingenuity? Stephen Johnson