ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR (b.1959): Symphony No. 8, Illuminatio for Viola and Orchestra, Whistles and Whispers from Uluru for Recorders and String Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 02T066
Reference: ODE 1303-2
Description: More products of Tüür's apparently inexhaustible compositional diversity and imagination. The 8th of his 9 symphonies (to date) is a relatively mainstream example of a big, tough Nordic symphony in largely tonal language compared to some of the others - no electric guitar soloist (10Q077), choir or electronics; a drum kit adds propulsion to a headlong passage in the first movement but otherwise the piece is relatively conventional, at least in this sense. The symphony is an example of the composer's 'vectorial' approach to compovsition, in which the ramifications of basic material presented very early on provide structure and momentum as they extend and develop throughout the piece. The first movement opens with a declamatory motif followed by a kind of burbling oscillation in the woodwinds that bears a close, but presumably coincidental, similarity to the opening of Martinů's 6th Symphony. These recur throughout the three movements, binding the piece together. The first movement is the longest, and organically and extensively develops and grows the opening motifs. The slow movement is mysterious and glacial landscape music, and the finale gathers momentum and drives the symphony to a powerful conclusion. Illuminatio is a four-movement viola concerto with a strong sense of forward travel, a journey toward the light. At the beginning the solo viola wanders through a mysterious soundscape without form, and void; a lively, dancing scherzo sounds folk-fiddle inflected; during the final two movements the density and momentum increase until after a final overwhelming confrontation the music evaporates into ethereal light. Uluru is the traditional name of Ayers' Rock in Australia, and Tüür's piece is an extremely virtuosic and atmospheric concertante landscape-study for multiple recorders (sometimes two played at once by one soloist!), constantly evoking birdsong and, at the end the unearthly sound of the didgeridoo. Lawrence Power (viola), Genevieve Lacey (recorders), Tapiola Sinfonietta; Olari Elts.