Fri, April 23 2021,
Online from Tartu Heino Eller Music School, Tubin Hall
Piano duo Kadri-Ann Sumera & Talvi HuntOpen chat
Lepo Sumera (1950–2000, Estonia) – In Es (1978)
Lauri Jõeleht (*1974, Estonia) – Stella matutina (2021, premiere)
Krists Auznieks (*1992, Latvia) – The Ebb Tide (2012)
Rasmus Puur – Night Sky (2021, premiere)
Gintaras Sodeika (*1961, Lithuania) – Sutapo (2010)
Lauri Jõeleht – Sequenza (2021, premiere)
Ardo Ran Varres (*1974, Estonia) – 13 Pieces for Two Pianos on Estonian Runic Melodies: I–VI (2021, premiere)
Rasmus Puur (*1991, Estonia) – Écoutez vous (Listen, 2021, premiere)
In Es (1978) is a composition from Lepo Sumera’s early creative period and one of his four pieces for a piano ensemble. The toccata-like energetic rhythms of this piece flow with playfulness and, as the title hints, revolve around the note Es.
By 1978, the piano duo Nora-Novik – Raffi Haradzanjan, renowned especially in the Baltic States but also popular across the entire Soviet Union, had already been active for ten years. In Estonia, today the most experienced such duo, Nataly Sakkos – Toivo Peäske, had been performing together for three years. It is probably quite rare that the premiere of a piece takes place in two locations at the same time, but this is exactly what happened on April 25 (notice the date!) in 1978 – the Estonian ensemble performed this piece in Tallinn, while their international counterpart performed it in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
Stella Matutina (Morning Star, 2021, premiere).
A thousand times the flowers in all the fields
will bow to thee; and with their little shields
the daisy-folk will muster on the plain.
A thousand songs the birds will sing again,
as sweet to hear as quiverings of a lute;
and she I love will sing, for thy repute,
full many a song. She sings when she but speaks;
and when she’s near the birds should all be mute.
(Eric Mackay, “A Lover’s Litanies” – “Seventh Litany. Stella Matutina” Lauri Jõeleht)
The Ebb Tide (2012). When the same phrase is played simultaneously in different octaves, it is rather perceived as one line with a specific timbre than as 2 separate melodies played at the same time. In “The Ebb Tide” I try to explore all the possible timbres one can get from combining 2 lines in different (or the same) octaves split between 2 pianos. In order to investigate not only different timbres but also echo and reverb, one of the pianos always enters a little bit later, creating a canon. The form is made as a catalogue presenting different colors in time but due to ascending pitch organisation (in a scale of the piece not a single phrase) and changing durations of the rests in between the phrases, an impression of development is achieved.
The Ebb Tide is a catalogue of 25 microcanons. It is an ocean with 25 marine animals. It is a microcosm of 25 microbes and a macrocosm of 25 stars. It is an algorithm with very few variables and 25 iterations. The Ebb Tide is a 25-year history of computer music. It is a list of 25 feelings Monteverdi had while writing Orpheo. It is an array of 25 lost species, their lives presented microtemporally. The Ebb Tide is 25 statements of meaning made by a god in the machine. It is 25 sentences in the Book of Life. It is a memory of a not yet born 25-year old. The Ebb Tide is a collection of 25 atoms moving towards entropy. It is a 25-dollar bill costing not more than everything. It is 25 days of lent, giving up nothing. It is 25 revolutions of a revolver in the Russian roulette (how many of them loaded?). The Ebb Tide is microscope and 25 regards of Messiaen under it. It is 25 flavors of malbec but only the notes that follow your usual black cherry, cocoa, and vanilla. It is 25 situations in which you were asked to choose between the lesser of two evils. The Ebb Tide is 25 tongues telling their tales. The Ebb Tide is 25 mysteries unresolved in a dream dreamt by a tortoise. It is 25 prayers for equality and good merit (for research grants, inspiration, good birth, the unloaded gun, good harvest, and clear conscience). It is 25 as in five squared, five times five, five plus five plus five plus five, and the differences that lie within these systems of numeric notation. The Ebb Tide is 25 footsteps in the snow. It is 25 grams of opium but not for the masses. It is 25 paths not taken but for what? It is 25 realities, each in their own multidimensional spatio-temporal continuum waiting for you to become aware of it, waiting for it to become aware of itself. (Krists Auznieks)
Night Sky (2021, premiere). “I received feedback from a piano teacher that this piece should be feasible for pupils in forms 5–7.” (Rasmus Puur)
Sequenza (Sequence, 2021, premiere). The inspiration for this piece comes from the composition for two pianos, Stella Matutina. (Lauri Jõeleht)
13 Pieces for Two Pianos on Estonian Runic Melodies: I–VI (2021, premiere). Speaking of Estonian musical DNA, runic melodies are clearly important carriers of its source information. The evolution of art music in Estonia began in the 19th century and the key musical geneticist of the first half of the 20th century was Heino Eller, whose music and activity as a teacher influences us to this day.
This time I wished to delve into this genetic subject matter and decided to compose 13 Pieces for Two Pianos on Estonian Runic Melodies based on the same melodies that Heino Eller used in his cycle 13 Pieces on Estonian Motifs. By the by, when Estonian composer Veljo Tormis went to Moscow to study, this score was allegedly in his briefcase as a masterful example of using folk tunes in art music. Due to being pressed for time, however, the current concert shall premiere only five plus one-pieces (the sixth is meant for music school students). The other seven pieces shall wait for next time … (Ardo Ran Varres)
13 Pieces for Two Pianos on Estonian Runic Melodies: VI (2021, premiere): this piece can also be played on one piano by four hands. (Ardo Ran Varres)
Ecoutez-vous (Listen 2021, premiere). It’s not easy to listen. To yourself or to others. We already think in advance that we know what the other person is going to say, or we understand something that we said only in hindsight. We are constantly misaligned. As if we say the same thing and yet somehow differently. How to meet in the middle? How to find harmony? (Rasmus Puur)
The collaboration between Talvi Hunt and Kadri-Ann Sumera has been brief but very fruitful. Their debut at the ISCM World Music Days in Tallinn in 2019 became an instant favorite of the audience and received rave reviews. The duo of Talvi and Kadri-Ann is enriched by the musicians’ broad horizon – while Talvi is dedicated to performing contemporary music and also specialized in it in Luzern, Kadri-Ann’s repertoire is versatile and includes music from Baroque
to the newest compositions available. Therefore, the ensemble benefits from their strong suits. In addition to music, the pianists are both passionate about demolishing houses and bicycling in the woods.
Alongside Latvian and Lithuanian music, the concert will include the premieres of three new pieces composed especially for the duo. The main title of the festival, “DNA”, provides an additional meaning for the interpretation of ancient runic songs in the composition of Ardo Ran Varres, the archaic kannel sounds in Lauri Jõeleht’s piece, and the intertwined musical passages in Krists Auzniek’s music. To narrow the DNA hints down, Kadri-Ann will also perform a piece by her own gene provider – In Es by her father, Lepo Sumera.
Live broadcast by EMP TV & Klassikaraadio.