30.05 at 19 The Sääsepirina alguse kontsert at Karuskose, on the edge of the big Soomaa wetlands. A small festival that can be combined with a bike tour. The performers include Maarja Nuut, who plays the violin and sings and dances with clunky shoes, makes her motifs loop and creates a multi-layered mosaic. Folk music becomes art!
Photo: Gabriela Liivamägi
13.06. at 20 the Kreek Days concert Praise the Lord, My Soul at the Haapsalu Dome Church. Cyrillus Kreek collected and arranged religious folk songs of the coastal Swedes of western Estonia. This time Kreek’s songs are sung by Vox Clamantis, a superb performer of Gregorian chants. The sound of the group is so special that the audience listens with bated breath, feeling like part of a rite. At this concert the songs alternate with improvisations on the Swedish nyckelharpa and the Estonian kannel.
21.06. at 16.30 Estonian Voices at Sõru Jazz, Sõru Harbour on the Hiiumaa island. Estonian Voices rock! They also have a great audience that dares to express their joy. This is the main thing when it comes to jazz.
23.06. at 03.00 Sunrise concert Arvo Pärt and His Fratres in the Hüpassaare bog. Performers include the Bog Orchestra, soloists Toomas Vana (trombone), Henri Zibo (accordion) and Virgo Veldi (saxophone). The programme includes Pärt, Grieg, Grigorjeva, Seppar (premiere). Can you imagine that a piano has been carried to the bog island via a wooden walkway. Or a double bass? The bog of Hüpassaare has witnessed both. Or that you can hear the premiere of an Estonian composer there and Fratres, one of the most touching works by Pärt?
Photo: Jaanus Siim
19.07. at 20 The final concert of the Pärnu Music Festival. The Pärnu festival orchestra will perform, uniting young Estonian and foreign musicians who have come together at the Järvi Academy. The programme includes Pärt, Beethoven, Shoshtakovich. The conductor is Paavo Järvi, who has focused on the latter two and also introduces Estonian composers in the world. The soloist is the Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, who recently performed with Paavo Järvi and Orchestre de Paris in the new concert hall of the Paris Philharmonic.
Photo: www.parnumusicfestival.ee
24.07. at 22 and 26.07. at 18 Even those who feel they are not quite the target audience of the Viljandi Folk Music Festival, may attend just one concert – Mari Kalkun and Runorun. Mari Kalkun’s warm voice and stage presence bring old folklore closer, Runorun will add a new nuance. Finnish and Estonian kannels, double bass in its jazzy softness or conversely, alienating sound, drums – this composition can be both meek and wild. They sing in the Võru dialect, or in the extinct Livonian and Votic languages in a completely cool way!
Photo: Gabriela Liivamägi
7.–12.08. at 19 The performance made for Veljo Tormis’ music Nativity Words at the Noblessner Foundry. The best of the best are here: Tõnu Kaljuste, the Estonian National Male Choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Von Krahl Theatre, Peeter Jalakas. Perhaps history will be made as happened during the performance of Tormis’ Estonian Ballads in 2004.
14.–16.08. Pühalepa Music Festival in Hiiumaa. A special focus is on the music of Erkki-Sven Tüür, with top performers. Last year, for example, the performers included the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Collegium Musicale. The concerts are held at Pühalepa church, a venue with excellent acoustics. The programme is not complete yet but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Tüür’s music intrigues you until you will love it. Tüür on his home island – also intriguing!
At the end of August music lovers should head for cinema, because the Arvo Pärt Centre will hold their annual Arvo Pärt film evenings, where films featuring Arvo Pärt’s music are selected by subject or genre. There will be introductions by specialists, conversations with the authors or participants. More info coming at https://www.arvopart.ee/en/
From 2.–11.09., the Pärt Days concerts will be held in Tallinn, Rakvere, Paide and Tartu, and on 26 September in Riga. The programme is really worth serious consideration. A simple advice is to choose a somewhat less known work in a smaller venue like St. Nicholas Church or St. Olaf’s Church, or other towns. The quality is top notch anyway. And it would be a good idea to buy your tickets now!