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Tormis: Works For Men's Voices / Kraus, Eberhard, Et Al


Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 73   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The choral music of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis has been very well treated on disc. Several of those efforts have been reviewed at Classicstoday.com, including a recent release from the Holst Singers on Hyperion and a pair of Alba recordings from the Estonian National Male Choir. Those discussions also include detailed descriptions of Tormis' choral style, which extends to the works presented here, so I won't repeat that material again--except to say his music is tonal but steeped in close-voicings, pungent dissonances, often dense textures, and wide vocal and dynamic range. The musical material is most often rooted in folksong, drawing from traditional poetic texts and profoundly meaningful
Read more works such as the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala. Tormis loves repetition of simple melodic and/or rhythmic motifs (as in Forging the Sampo), and is not afraid to employ percussion or the occasional use of whistling or other vocalizations by the singers (Men's Songs; Curse upon Iron).

In these works for men's voices, the writing expects a virtuoso ensemble--there's no other way to achieve the necessary precision in rhythm and intonation, to sustain the energy to build the dramatic force to its full effectiveness, or to allow the harmonies (whether close or open) to resonate with either hair-raising power or warm sensuousness. The 20 singers of this Swedish choir yield to no one in virtuoso technique and musicianship, and their sound is lovely, youthful, and vibrant.

From the opening work--a rousing chanting piece whose "text" is simply the word "Tabu!" (taboo)--you know this program is going to be both engaging and unique. And when the choir unleashes those stunning harmonic flourishes near the beginning of the second piece, "I'd like to sing a song", you know you won't be going anywhere for awhile. The excellent programming ensures variety and momentum from track to track while showing various aspects of Tormis' mastery of the medium. (The composer himself even plays drum and anvil on several tracks!) Concluding the disc is the premiere recording of Tormis' male-voice version of Curse upon Iron, one of his finest works--a brilliant anti-war statement drawn from the Kalevala, in which iron is condemned as the evil embodiment of weapons. First-rate sound and Tormis' personal notes on the music ensure the highest recommendation for this compelling, essential release.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
An Aboriginal Song by Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis (Shaman Drum)
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 
2.
Crosswind by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 
3.
Our Shadows by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 
4.
Forging the Sampo by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Veljo Tormis strikes an anvil on this piece.
Version: 2003
Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1996).
Composition revised: 2003. 
5.
The Bishop and the Pagan by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992/1995; Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 
6.
Incantation for a Stormy Sea by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1996 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 
7.
Men's Songs (10): no 3, Now I've left behind "Betrothal Visit Song" by Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis (Shaman Drum)
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1964 - 1965). 
8.
Men's Songs (10): no 5, Our own shadows "Song of the Turkish War" by Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis (Shaman Drum)
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1964 - 1965). 
9.
Men's Songs (10): no 7, Others have beds "Serf's Song" by Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis (Shaman Drum)
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1964 - 1965). 
10.
Men's Songs (10): no 8, Let our Mari "Dancing Song" by Veljo Tormis
Performer:  Veljo Tormis (Shaman Drum)
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1964 - 1965). 
11.
Curse upon Iron by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006)
Composition written: Estonia (1972).
Composition revised: 2001. 
12.
Double Dedication "Diptych" by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Sofia Soderberg-Eberhard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Svanholm Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; Estonia 
Venue:  Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden 
Language: Estonian 
Notes: Lomma Church, Skane, Sweden (10/09/2006 - 11/08/2006) 

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