“Soul and Spirit”
For the first time, the Estonian Music Days 2023 will present two themes, one of them at the heart of the concerts in Tallinn and the other one for the events in Tartu. The festival has different emphases in Tallinn and Tartu, but in their difference they complement one another and create a unified whole.
In the capital, this year’s festival centres around the soul and breathing.
You arrive to listen, breathless. As usual, you’re out of breath from your daily life. You catch your breath, ready to experience the concert and breathe it in together (ready to breathe fire over anyone who dares to disturb you). You listen with your heart and soul. Listening is breathing.
But where is the soul of music? Hidden in its sounds? In the mind of a composer? In the soul of a musician?
Souls meet at a concert, come together to listen, to play, to breathe as one. We hold our breath in the exciting anticipation of the first sound. Musicians have breathed life into the soul of the composer. Has he sold his soul to make it all sound like this?
We almost forget to breathe (without noticing it) in the embrace of the sounds, development and conclusion of a composition. And sometimes, the swathes of music are so powerful, so magical that they overwhelm us. It is breath-taking to sense the end of a journey, of a composition.
“It took my breath away,” we sigh when it is over, finished.
When the soul, the flow of the composition fades, it leaves us baffled in our ordinary evening.
For a moment, the world seems soulless.
And, ever so lightly, this gripes our souls.
(Helena Tulve and Timo Steiner)
The focus of the festival in Tartu is spirit.
This is partly because spirit is something that easily relates to Tartu. Tartu is the intellectual capital of Estonia and a place where you can both nourish your soul and free your spirit. And, of course, Tartu is a wonderful place for locals as well as visitors. On our journey we will try to understand what more this “spirit” encompasses. What is its place and history in the Western cultural and intellectual heritage and in the Finno-Ugric worldview? What is the difference between soul and spirit? These topics are also an introduction to next year’s festival that will take place fully in the university city of Tartu.