Tallinn / Tartu / Online
Add to calendar
Wed, April 26 2023
19:00 – 20:30
Ensemble for New Music Tallinn

Tallinn Creative Hub
Venue info + map

Tickets 20/15€

Watch EMP TV

Karolina Leedo (flutes)
Chiara Percivati (clarinets)
Toomas Hendrik Ellervee (violin)
Peeter Margus (violin)
Talvi Nurgamaa (viola)
Paul-Gunnar Loorand (cello)
Madis Jürgens (double bass)
Arash Yazdani (conductor)

Kädy Plaas (soprano)

Last Words

Toivo TulevSix Last Words of Henry David Thoreau for soprano and 6 instruments (2016)

Sander Saarmets and the sky turned yellow (2022, Estonian premiere)

Arash Yazdani Stromateis: Lessness (2017, premiere)

Age VeeroosOutlines of the Night (2023, premiere)

Dror Feiler Excarnation (2023, premiere)


Toivo Tulev: “The text of Six Last Words of Henry David Thoreau is taken from two sources: Thoreau’s (1817–1862) work Cape Cod (1865) and words spoken by the writer on his deathbed. Cape Cod is a travelogue narrating Thoreau’s many visits to the historically important United States peninsula between 1849 and 1857. It is one of Thoreau’s most enlightening and optimistic works. Thoreau’s last six words – now comes good sailing, indian*, moose – are used as a frame for excerpts taken from different chapters of the travelogue. These six words act like a lens through which the rest of the text is interpreted and clarified. The music also reflects the author’s own vision of Cape Cod in 2015, but always through Thoreau’s eyes: on his sunny summer days, in the crisp autumn and on his last morning in May 1862.” Tulev’s piece was premiered at the 2016 International Contemporary Music Festival AFEKT in Tartu (performed by Ensemble for New Music Tallinn, conducted by Arash Yazdani, with Kädy Plaas as soloist).

* In “Cape Cod”, this word appears in the expression “Indian summer” (the same expression is called “old women’s summer” in Estonian) as the last chance for some warmth when“wells in the sand behind the town still covered with ice”.

Six Last Words of Henry David Thoreau 

  1. NOW

Now, now, now, now, now, now, now comes
Now, now, now comes 

… a succession of small hills and valleys covered with shrubbery, now glowing with the brightest imaginable autumnal tints; and beyond this were seen, here and there, the waters of the bay.

  1. COMES

… to see that seashore where man’s works are wrecks; to put up at the true Atlantic House, where the ocean is land-lord as well as sea-lord, and comes ashore without a wharf for the landing; where the crumbling land is the only invalid, or at best is but dry land, and that is all you can say of it.

  1. GOOD

We found some large clams, of the species Mactra solidissima, which the storm had torn up from the bottom, and cast ashore. I selected one of the largest, about six inches in length, and carried it along, thinking to try an experiment on it. We soon after met a wrecker, with a grapple and a rope, who said that he was looking for tow cloth, which had made part of the cargo of the ship Franklin, which was wrecked here in the spring, at which time nine or ten lives were lost.

He told us that the clam, which I had, was the sea-clam, or hen, and was good to eat. We took our nooning under a sand-hill, covered with beach-grass, in a dreary little hollow, on the top of the bank, while it alternately rained and shined.


Now comes good sailing …. 

What right has the sea to bear in its bosom such tender things as sea-jellies and … mm, mm, and mosses, what right, when it has such a boisterous shore, that the stoutest fabrics are wrecked against it? Strange that it should undertake to dandle such delicate children in its arm. I did not at first recognize these for the same which I had formerly seen in myriads in Boston Harbor, rising, with a waving motion, to the surface, as if to meet the sun, and discoloring the waters far and wide, so that I seemed to be sailing through a mere sun-fish soup. 


This Monday morning was beautifully mild and calm, both on land and water, promising us a smooth passage across the Bay, and the fishermen feared that it would not be so good a drying day as the cold and windy one which preceded it. There could hardly have been a greater contrast. 

This was the first of the Indian summer days, though at a late hour in the morning we found the wells in the sand behind the town still covered with ice, which had formed in the night. 

Now comes good sailing. Indian. Moose.

Sander Saarmets: “The impulse to write and the sky turned yellow (2022) came from a dream in which a feeling of danger was expressed by a strangely yellow sky. Time stopped and space started to warp: suddenly it was clear that old ideas about the world and the laws of physics no longer applied. Although the experience was frightening, I woke up unexpectedly fascinated.

Outlines of the Night (2023, premiere). Age Veeroos: “To get below the surface of the night, you need to take a closer look. Then again, I don’t know if I’d want to see everything it hides. Maybe it’s better to think of it as something pleasant. There is a certain mystery to it: its proximity heightens the senses and excites. Farther afield, an inexplicable darkness lurks in the shadows, both appealing and terrifying. Surely there is also a wonderful light out there somewhere.

Dror Feiler: “Struggle and construction as opposed to the peaceful meditation of the undulating line/structure is the core of Excarnation (2023, premiere) A creation of a spellbinding to the NOISE/TONE/SOUND is the method. The “struggle” as form (for the performer and the listener) implies a model of a “struggle” that must adapt myriads of singular variations even if they are delirious or “unpleasant”. The “struggle” form is not the common epic one, it does not recount the “adventure” of an organic struggle. The “struggle” form delivers a new form, it delivers a great rift and/or gap, it is a lyricism ripped apart and it lets itself be carried away.

The “noise breaks” are not here to fulfil a macro-structural objective in itself, instead the “noise breaks” exists for the achievements of the whole, the whole that is composed to throw us back onto the horns of the music/sound/noise. Now very much unlike “traditional music” in all its forms, dissonance always serves a higher abstract order, here the very material of composition, the singular, particular, and visceral NOISE in the “noise break” fully consumes us. Every “NOISE/TONE/SOUND” in the music takes on a meaning, and no clear hierarchy exists between them. Each “NOISE/TONE/SOUND” in the music is equally close to the centre.

Is it possible to enjoy music like this? Enjoyment is a historical experience. People enjoy Mozart, Dvorak, Berlioz, mainstream new music or pop music. If I want to enjoy a melody, I go to Schubert or to an old Jewish prayer tradition. This is a cultural, historical and aesthetic experience. But of a work that was written the day before yesterday or one “written/improvised” in the now, I expect other things. Enjoyment is only a minor part of listening. Art is too serious a matter to limit it to the concept of enjoyment. When a work is reduced mainly to appeal to taste, it activates the same mechanism that makes people choose the colour of a car, or a table, the same mechanism that makes you choose what ice cream to lick. Most audiences of the modern new music are becoming unfortunately a kind of intellectual escapists. For many years now, the audience is lost, in an aesthetic, philosophical and cultural crisis and is establishing a dictatorship of tiredness, despair and the demand for Italian espresso. They aren’t interested in hearing the music and seeing the truth and only want to be caressed. So please: Be caressed. But not by me.”

The Last Words is made of contrasts and contradictions; of strong voices on opposite sides. Pieces in this program are almost like manifestos, by composers who believe in different voices but believe them whole-heartedly and passionately. Some soft, some harsh, some gentle, some tough. The World premiere of pieces by Age Veeroos and Israeli/Swedish Dror Feiler and Arash Yazdani, are combined by the Tallinn premiere of Toivo Tulev and Sander Saarmets. Estonian celebrated soprano Kädy Plaas will accompany ENMT in the performance of Toivo Tulev’s piece on the last 6 words that were uttered by Henry David Thoreau before his death. The last words were “Now comes good sailing, moose, Indian”.

The concert will be live-broadcasted by Klassikaraadio.