ECM Releases a New Veljo Tormis Album

8 Sep 2023


German record label ECM has released “Reminiscentiae” (Reminiscences), a new album of the Veljo Tormis’ work, recorded by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste.

Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, who selected the material for the recording, described the album as “reminiscences of reminiscences”. “There are several reminiscences of Veljo Tormis from his childhood, such as ‘Sad Songs’ and ‘Chants’, as well as the string arrangements of his choral works ‘Reminiscentiae’. Certainly, the composition 'The Tower Bell in My Village' is also featured on the recording," stated the conductor, who had commissioned this piece from Tormis back in 1978. Kaljuste recalled that he had taken the text of “The Tower Bell in My Village” by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa and went to the Tormis’s home with the request that the composer create a piece for the choir’s concert tour. “All in all, this album contains reminiscences from different times of our collaboration. This is the first I have recorded since the composer left us,” the conductor noted.

In addition, “Worry Breaks the Spirit” and “Hamlet's Song I”, written for choir and orchestra, are also recorded on the album.

Veiko Tubin (narrator), Annika Lõhmus, Triin Sakermaa and Maria Valdmaa (sopranos), Iris Oja (mezzo-soprano), Indrek Vau (trumpet), Madis Metsamart (percussion) and Linda Vood (flute) were the soloists on the recording.

The album was recorded in 2020 at the Tallinn Methodist Church, with ECM’s founder Manfred Eicher as the producer.

Photo: Tõnu Tormis