ROXANNA PANUFNIK (b.1968): Dance of Life (Tallinn Mass).
Catalogue Number: 03P098
Label: Warner Classics
Description: A composite work, Dance of Life incorporates the Tallinn Mass, which may also be performed as a separate work. Divided into six sections that correspond to those of the Mass, each of these 'acts' also contains a miniature dramatic scena, setting texts by Doris Kareva and Jürgen Rooste. The soprano takes the role of Life, while the narrator depicts various characters, building up a portrait of a city, society, humanity. Bells representing the characteristic chimes of Tallinn churches, and folk songs from the region provide thematic material, and so thoroughly assimilated is the Estonian idiom that passages of the Dance sound uncannily related to the major Nordic symphonists of the twentieth century, more than to the composer's Polish and English heritage. The Mass sections have more in common with the English choral tradition, with a certain Brittenesque elegance, fluidity and clarity. Throughout, echoes of the composer's father's characteristic harmonies may be heard, and his ostinato figuration; this never sounds derivative, just a thoroughly absorbed component of the vocabulary. A moving work, with many hauntingly beautiful passages, and, like all the composer's music, thoroughly accessible while remaining original and individual. Texts included. Patricia Rosario (soprano), Jaak Johanson (narrator), Laura Lindpere (kannel), Madis Metsamart (percussion), Estonian TV Girls' Choir, Collegium Musicale Chamber Choir, Choir of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Mihhail Gerts.