RAMSBOTTOM RECORDED MUSIC SOCIETY
GUEST presenter Bill Higginbotham from the Bolton Society made a welcome return with a programme ‘Music from Estonia’, which was inspired by his visit to the capital city, Tallin.
The smallest of the Baltic States, it gained independence from Russia after 125 years of struggle.
Estonia has a long and fine choral tradition, often displaying subversive, anti-Russian sentiments, so fittingly, we opened with ‘The Singer’ by composer Veljo Tormis, a contemporary of Arvo Part.
This arresting piece used a male chorus, organ, terse drum beats and cymbal.
The melodic orchestral work by Eller called ‘Dusk’, written in 1917 also articulated the desire for an independent republic with a rhapsodic theme by the strings.
Then followed Tormis’ striking choral piece ‘An Aboriginal’ Song in which one word, ‘taboo’ is sung, chanted and shouted, accompanied by drums.
It alludes to Russian rules as to what could or could not be expressed in musical composition.
Arto Lemba studied in St Petersburg and in contrast to the former composers, his first Piano Concerto of 1910 is in the Russian Romantic tradition.
Post interval came another fascinating choral work by Tormis called ‘Forging the Sample’, referring to the making of a magical object, harking back to Estonian legend.
The next composer, Tubin, wrote 11 symphonies.
We heard his third, the ‘Heroic’ (1940-42), a patriotic work which progressed to a triumphant finale.
Estonia held its first National Song Festival in 1889 and we concluded with an uplifting piece from the festival of 1994 entitled ‘My Homeland is All My Joy’.
During the ‘singing revolution’ of 1991, this song was broadcast worldwide.
It was an appropriate finale to a fascinating musical evening.
The next meeting is on October 5.
For details contact Richard Hall on 01706 823490 or richard.w@ hall45.eclipse.co.uk.