Author Topic: Tüür's Tonic Triforium  (Read 7128 times)

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Offline Lethevich

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Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« on: June 14, 2008, 11:29:06 AM »
Due to an unprecidented three other people on this forum who like his music, I figure we could begin a thread to centralise any Tüür talk ;D Massively mini bio with staggeringly rudimentary music analysis by myself:

Born in Estonia, land of Tubin, Pärt and Sumera in 1959, Erkki-Sven Tüür represents a more recent generation of contemporary composers than the one which is currently beginning to die. His music is accessable (a loaded term if ever there was one), drawing influences from minimalists, the baroque, and other modernists, but importantly it doesn't come across as merely a series of collages or pastiches. Generally the music is of a naturalistic quality which doesn't evoke emotions in the romantic way (there is little romanticism in the music at all), but many moments of tonal beauty can be found amongst the ebbing and scurrying textures in his orchestral music. The strong structure of all of his works are another thing which can help get a hook on a few of the more difficult works.

His Architectonics pieces for ensembles of various sizes are the most experimental of his works, not in terms of any avant-garde qualities, but freely incorporating his many influences in a more colourful and varied pieces without the requirement for them having to feel unified in any way. There are passing elements of jazz, minimalism, rock, baroque, and pretty much everything sucked into these works, resulting in the two discs dedicated only to these pieces being fascinating and colourful listening. His works for string orchestra are where he can be found closest to some of his contemporaries from the Baltic region - superficial comparisons can be made to Vasks, Pärt, Górecki, etc, but the effect is less romanticised than Vasks or Górecki, as well as being in no way overtly religious.

Recomended discs:

Magma (Virgin)
Works: Symphony No.4, The Path and the Traces, Inquiétude du Fini, Igavik


The most important reason for recommending this one is its current price. This retails as a full price in its RRP, but Amazon marketplace (both US and UK) are flooded with cheap copies, making this cheaper than a Naxos disc to buy new. It looks like it's going to remain this way as well, as the prices have been like this for a long time now. The 4th symphony is a major work, it is essentially a percussion concerto in one movement and should be treated as such. It is on an unusually large scale, and interesting to hear such a diverse array of instruments so well played. Another strong selling point of this disc is the choral works. His choral music is under-represented on CD, so these are important additions, even if Igavik is quite short. Inquiétude du Fini is wonderful, and shows how his writing had matured since Ante Finem Saeculi of 7 years before - it retains the same formula of superb writing for voice, and creating propulsive sections underpinned by lean string playing to keep the lengthy piece ticking over, but they feel more integrated into the texture of the music than before.

Misc works (Apex)
Works: Symphony No.2, Conversio, Lighthouse, Architechtonics III & IV


This is the only "budget" disc of Tüür's music, containing reissues from multiple Finlandia discs. Unfortunately Warner couldn't be bothered to reissue the other stuff on another disc, which makes finding the original Finlandia discs a priority before they become horribly expensive. If you can find one cheaply, grab it :) Symphony No.2 is rather more lean and mean than his sophisticated orchestral works from the late 90s, but enjoyable for that. Quite dissonant, but containing many recognisable fingerprints, the rather feral nature leaves me a little exausted after listening - evoking to me the image of something elemental, rocks being formed, tectonic plates, big stuff! Conversio is one of his works more obviously influenced by minimalism. It resembles the American school during its first half, especially the teasing way that the theme repeats and repeats before the inenvitable burst into the theme in its "final" form. Like Reich, the music shifts into slightly uneasy territory by the end, but by then its traces of minimalism have more or less evaporated.

Flux (ECM)
Works: Symphony No.3, Cello Concerto, Lighthouse


Due to their price, I will restrict myself to recommending only two of the four ECM discs as initial choices. This contains probably his most well-known piece, the 3rd symphony, and it encapsulates his style of orchestral writing. By now the harshness and some of the tension of the 2nd symphony have gone, and the rest has been refined into an organic style in which climaxes are build up rather than forced. The occasional atonal moments in brass attacks remain, but they are better integrated, and accompanied by attractive melodies which were previously absent. An example is the building string theme from 8 minutes onwards in the second movement which recalls a Sumera symphony (no.2 I think?). Delicate use of percussion is spread throughout which gives the more contemplative moments a further impression of a light touch which previously did not exist in his orchestral music. The cello concerto is very much in this mould, and as such is a perfect complimentary piece to the symphony. As a result this disc doesn't neccessaraly demonstrate Tüür's full range, but it documents his "standard" style very well.

Oxymoron (ECM)
Works: Marimba Concerto "Ardor", Dedication, Oxymoron, Salve Regina


This disc covers a much wider range than Flux does - Oxymoron is scored for a large (and slightly idiosyncratic) ensemble including synthesizer and piano. It resembles his Architectronics pieces, but in a more "symphonic" sweep. Dedication is a great piece for cello and piano, and comes close to the sparse emotive music produced by Pärt and Co. It's a very attractive piece and I can only hope that there are more like this awaiting recording. Ardor as as fun as a marimba concerto can be :P It's on quite a large scale (25 mins) and due to the nature of the instrument contains rather less struggle than some of his other orchestral works. The range of the instrument is well exploited and impressively played by the soloist. Overall it's an emotionally ambiguous work compared to something like the 3rd symphony, which has melodies which are as heart-on-sleeve as Tüür gets. Salve Regina is a strong example of his under-recorded choral music. It is quite a strange juxtaposition of plainchant style singing with quite an intrusive accompanying ensemble, causing some odd clashes of old and new which I haven't encountered in his other recorded choral music.

Further info:
Wikipedia article which is all too brief (at this time)
Estonian Music Information Center page
Information page (no longer updated)
Edition Peters profile including scores for sale
A fan page which lists some many works not featured on other sites, especially early ones
Sheet Music Plus scores
ECM's website which includes their useful linear notes which can be read online (under "Background")
Information on his opera "Wallenberg" including a video, which atm doesn't work

(If anyone runs into any more useful links I'll add them here.)

Works currently recorded:
Orchestra: Symphony No.2 (1986-7), Searching for Roots (Hommage à Sibelius) (1990), Zeitraum (1992), Symphony No.3 (1997), Exodus (1999), Aditus (2000 rev. 2002), Symphony No.4 "Magma" (2002)
Concerti: Cello (1997), Violin (1998) Marimba "Ardor" (2001-2)
String orchestra: Insula Deserta ["Desert Island"] (1989), Action Passion Illusion (1993), Lighthouse [a kind of homage to Bach] (1997), The Path and the Traces (2005)
Ensemble: Architectonics I-VII (1984-1992), In the Memory of Clear Water [wind symphony orchestra] (1990), Crystallisatio (1995), Oxymoron ["Music for Tirol"] (2003)
Chamber: Piano Sonata (1985), String Quartet (1986 or earlier), Spectrum I [organ] (1989), Dedication [cello & piano] (1990), Spiel ["Game", cello & guitar] (1992), Conversio [violin & piano] (1994), Drama [flute, violin & guitar] (1994), Spectrum II [organ, trumpet & percussion] (1994), Transmission [6 pianos] (1996), Motus II [percussion quartet] (1998)
Choral: Ante Finem Saeculi [oratorio] (1985), Inquiétude du Fini ["Concern that it is Over", chamber choir & orchestra] (1992?), Requiem [choir & ensemble] (1994), Salve Regina [male choir & ensemble] (2005), Igavik ["Eternity", male choir] (2006)

Regarding major works which require recording, the 1st symphony has yet to recieve one, and there is apparently mass "Lumen et Cantus" from the late 80s which could be substential. Corey also noticed that he has produced an opera which demands a recording.

According to the Edition Peters website: "Several new commissions are on the list, among them Piano Concerto, Accordion Concerto and large-scale work for orchestra." Also, gief moar chambermusix! :@

Also linking a previously posted DL for his out of print oratorio Ante Finem Saeculi so it doesn't get lost. Originally coupled on a Finlandia disc with the Symphony No.2 included on the Apex reissue.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 02:23:27 PM by Lethe »
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2008, 12:40:24 PM »
Thanks for this look at Tüür, whose work I am just beginning to explore.  (I have the Magma CD on the "to listen to" pile, and as you mentioned, it was quite inexpensive.)

Also I notice he's doing an Accordion Concerto, and coincidentally I was just reading about Accordion Awareness Month:D

Anyway, I need to hear some of these other discs you mention.  Thanks for the comprehensive post!

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Kullervo

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2008, 01:12:04 PM »
Oh gawd, a thread, and I haven't even listened to the Apex disc yet!  :-X I'll get on it and post my impressions here and in the Listening thread as soon as I do so.

Offline Varg

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2008, 01:30:56 PM »
I just listened to some samples from the ECM recordings. I had to buy this:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7674371?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Thanks for the thread, Lethe.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2008, 02:23:32 PM »
Anyway, I need to hear some of these other discs you mention.

All of the ECM discs are very good, so I guess it should depend on which direction you want to go after hearing the Virgin one. Xantus is very keen on the violin concerto, for example, but I find that disc to be a little homogenous due to every work being for orchestra. The other works on it are also great, though, although I have to listen to Exodus a bit more before I can claim to be familiar with it...

The Accordion Concerto cannot fail to be badass ;D

Oh gawd, a thread, and I haven't even listened to the Apex disc yet!  :-X I'll get on it and post my impressions here and in the Listening thread as soon as I do so.

My fannish outpourings cannot be stopped ;_:

I just listened to some samples from the ECM recordings. I had to buy this:

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/hnum/7674371?rk=classic&rsk=hitlist

Nifty! I'm sure you'll like it. I found the way that the piece was presented on that disc a little daunting (one 30 minute slab, unindexed), but it was rewarding to familiarise with.
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Kullervo

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2008, 02:38:42 PM »
My fannish outpourings cannot be stopped ;_:

Indeed, you are only fanning the flames of fannishness by continuing this thread. :D

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 09:44:25 PM »
1. Great title.

2. I also greatly appreciated "The Path and the Traces" from the Magma disc, which I am in fact going to re-listen to right now! :D

3. Great overview, and even greater comprehensive list (and recommendations) of recordings which I will be checking out.

4.
Quote from: Lethe
Also, gief moar chambermusix! :@

QFT

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 10:15:43 PM »
I also greatly appreciated "The Path and the Traces" from the Magma disc, which I am in fact going to re-listen to right now! :D

TPATT is delightfully mysterious sounding, the earlier string orchestra works are if anything more straightforwardly tuneful. Insula Deserta was apparently his "breakthrough" work and pretty mandatory, and Lighthouse is also great, but as that shows up on several discs you won't need to especially seek it out - you'll no doubt end up with a disc containing it.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2008, 09:42:21 PM »
Great thread, Lethe, with a fine introduction into Tüür. I didn't hear his more recent compositions (especially the Third and Fourth symphonies) and feel much encouraged to renew my acqaintance with his music.

Btw I always had a special weakness for his oratorio Ante Finem Saeculi. The central setting of the poem by Viivi Luik especially is often breathtakingly beautiful, even if the technique still reveals his background in symphonic rock.
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2008, 01:28:32 AM »
I always had a special weakness for his oratorio Ante Finem Saeculi. The central setting of the poem by Viivi Luik especially is often breathtakingly beautiful, even if the technique still reveals his background in symphonic rock.

Indeedie, the propulsive themes in the second movement reminded me of rock as well.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 02:31:46 AM »
I heard Tüür's music for the first time last night:

Motus II for Percussion Quartet - Cabaza Percussion Quartet [cpo]

I think it was the best work on that disc (got it for 2 €  ;D ).
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 04:06:52 AM »
I heard Tüür's music for the first time last night:

Motus II for Percussion Quartet - Cabaza Percussion Quartet [cpo]

I think it was the best work on that disc (got it for 2 €  ;D ).

Yay! :D I didn't buy that disc because I am only interested in the small Tüür work on it and none of the others - I'm glad that you like it :)
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2008, 05:57:15 AM »
Yay! :D I didn't buy that disc because I am only interested in the small Tüür work on it and none of the others - I'm glad that you like it :)

I only bought it last December for the laughable low price when making a big order from JPC.DE. Percussion music is of course a nice obscurity in my collection.  ;D
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2009, 02:33:48 PM »
A bump, because I ran into a cool YouTube channel which has a lot of single movement Tüür played live at an Estonian festival, including Dedication and Conversio which are very good, but also very accessable pieces.

http://www.youtube.com/user/incorporefestival

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ttoV73VX6eg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ttoV73VX6eg</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hZYtXofX7zc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hZYtXofX7zc</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/3Li5ygq9tvY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/3Li5ygq9tvY</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Xufb8l8eGGw" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Xufb8l8eGGw</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/g97_T1saj3M" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/g97_T1saj3M</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rS7BpJJiqFc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/rS7BpJJiqFc</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_3uxUCu2n9A" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_3uxUCu2n9A</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/l-Rib_sEzoA" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/l-Rib_sEzoA</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/BgeYQQyjmII" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/BgeYQQyjmII</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/vaJzs3NIg7A" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/vaJzs3NIg7A</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/BmxLGvYBvWk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/BmxLGvYBvWk</a><a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/b7j79EOZ8-M" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/b7j79EOZ8-M</a>
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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2009, 09:35:43 PM »
Do you have the SQ? If so, what's the skinny?

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2009, 08:51:48 AM »
It's nice, but not worth buying either in terms of its potential greatness or for interesting technique. It's surprisingly "normal", but then, it is an early work. The Tubin couplings are what makes the BIS disc worth owning for me.
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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2013, 06:39:14 PM »
I know this thread hasn't been posted on for almost four years now, but I was hoping knowledgeable members could describe Tuur's style and accessibility level to me and recommend where to start with recordings of his music. Thanks in advance. :)

Offline lescamil

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2013, 07:57:57 PM »
I know this thread hasn't been posted on for almost four years now, but I was hoping knowledgeable members could describe Tuur's style and accessibility level to me and recommend where to start with recordings of his music. Thanks in advance. :)

The best thing would be to listen for yourself. It's a unique style that combines some tonal elements with some modernism. Lots of textural variety in this music. It's not the most accessible stuff in the world, but it won't scare you off if you've heard a fair share of 20th century music. I wouldn't be able to say where to start with his music, since there is so much variety. I would just say to dive in and see what happens.

Here is a piece of his that I've seen live and really enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv9ZzOrDuU0
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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2013, 08:06:39 PM »
The best thing would be to listen for yourself. It's a unique style that combines some tonal elements with some modernism. Lots of textural variety in this music. It's not the most accessible stuff in the world, but it won't scare you off if you've heard a fair share of 20th century music. I wouldn't be able to say where to start with his music, since there is so much variety. I would just say to dive in and see what happens.

Here is a piece of his that I've seen live and really enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv9ZzOrDuU0

Thanks, lescamil. Like you say, hearing is believing! I'd still appreciate other members' input on Tuur's music, though. :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Tüür's Tonic Triforium
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2013, 08:19:28 PM »
Tuur is an interesting composer. He's not a composer I listen that often as I don't think his music has much substance but in a purely aural way it's certainly fun to listen to. I bought a few of his recordings several years ago but I can't remember one note of any of the music or which work was what. :-\ One recording I did enjoy was this one on ECM:



I think his music hits on the more mainstream side of classical music for my tastes these days. Not that it's a bad thing, but it's just not music I listen to very often.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 08:21:36 PM by Mirror Image »
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