TÕNU KÕRVITS (b.1969): Azure, Hymns to the Nordic Lights, Silent Songs for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra, Leaving Capri, Tears Fantasy, Elegies of Thule.
Catalogue Number: 01V068
Reference: ODE 1349-2
Description: Kõrvits' highly individual voice, drawing on 'new spirituality', an original approach to sonoristic textures, and folk music of his native Estonia is shown to great advantage in these impressive orchestral works. His idiom is tonal, though with added-note dissonances that range in intensity from a subtle halo around the harmony to sonorous masses of clustered or even pitch-indeterminate textures. Hymns to the Nordic Lights comprises five pieces which vividly evoke the monumental, unearthly land and skyscapes of the north, jagged mountain shapes silhouetted against the undulating shimmer of the aurorae. Granitic blocks of sound are outlined by glittering, evanescent iridescence, and lonely birdcalls echo over unseen lakes. Silent Songs is effectively a concerto for bass clarinet. Its beguiling lyrical contours have a free, quasi-improvisatory quality, sometimes almost jazz-like, colored by modes from the Near and Far East. It is something of a treat to hear the bass clarinet used for its gorgeous, rich, velvety melodic capabilities rather than being required to perform acrobatics in a register that would give a piccolo pause. Leaving Capri is an homage to the Italian landscapes of Estonian painter Konrad Mägi, and is tonal and warmly Romantic, with a suggestion of Renaissance music. Tears Fantasy is explicitly based on Renaissance material - Dowland's Lachrimae - but here transmuted into a dark, imposing tone poem, the solemn majesty of which belies its relative brevity. Elegies of Thule enlarges upon three Estonian folk melodies in rich Romantic guise but set in the dark, mysterious landscapes of Hymns. Meelis Vind (bass clarinet), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Risto Joost.