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Estonian National Male Choir

Estonian National Male Choir

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The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) is currently the largest full-time professional male choir in the world. Founded in 1944 by the legendary composer and leader of the Estonian choral movement, Gustav Ernesaks, the choir has since been conducted by several highly esteemed Estonian choral conductors, including Olev Oja, Kuno Areng, Ants Uleoja, Ants Soots and 2005-2008 Kaspars Putninsh from Latvia.

In a cooperative project with Conductor Paavo Jarvi, The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ERSO), the Estonian girls Choir "Ellerhein", and The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM), won a Grammy Award in 2004 in the category of "Best Choral Performance" for their recording of Sibelius' Cantatas (Virgin Classics, 2003). A year later their recording of Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt" (recorded by the same line-up) was voted the orchestral album of the year in BBC Music Magazine.

Over its' 65 years of existence, RAM has performed more than 6000 concerts all across Estonia, the former Soviet Union, many Western European countries, Israel, Canada and the United States. In the early years, the Choir devoted it's working repertoire almost exclusively to a cappella choral music, much of which was composed by it's founder Gustav Ernesaks. Since that time RAM, has divulged itself into the Classical mainstream and is now most famous for its interpretations of large-scale orchestral works, frequently performed with the world's leading orchestras and conductors. At any given time, RAM has approximately 30 large-scale orchestral works available in its' repertoire, and most of the current tours abroad are large-scale cultural projects that provide a forum for these performances.

During the last decade, the choir has paid homage to the musical trends and performance styles of several different periods and regions, working with such guest conductors as Lev Sivuhhin, Robert Sund, Josep Prats, Roman Toi, Chifuru Matsubara (Japan), Kaspars Putninsh, Anatoly Grindenko, Lone Larsen (Sweden), Timothy Brown (UK), Vytautas Mishkinis, Toomas Siitan and Jaan-Eik Tulve.

Over the last 5 years Estonian National Male Choir has recorded 12 CD-s for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, Virgin, Finlandia, CCn'C, Forte, Alba, GB Records and other record labels.

Discography

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Estonian National Male Choir : Veljo Tormis: Visions of Kalevala : 00  1 CD : Ants Soots : Veljo Tormis : ncd 35

Estonian National Male Choir : Veljo Tormis: Visions of Kalevala

Review: The CD series of Veljo Tormis's "Visions" was started by Ants Soots and the Estonian National Male Choir in 2001 with the selection "Vision of Estonia", the title of the CD came from one song composed of the excerpts of Juha Liiv's poetry. Juhan Liiv was an important Estonian poet of the Early 20th Century and those poems, like other songs in this selection, reflected on the situation of Estonian people. The present fifth selection in this series contains Tormis's visions of the Finnish National epic Kalevala. The significance of Kalevala for Tormis is much more than just a literary masterpiece of the neighboring Finnish culture, that is something like the ancient scripture of all the Baltic-Finnish peoples once inhabiting the coasts of the Finnish gulf.

Songlist: "Kalevala" seitsmeteistkumnes runo - The Seventeenth Canto of the "Kalevala", Kullervo sonum - Kullervo's Message, Sampo tagumine - Forging the Sampo, Raua needmine - Curse Upon Iron, Lauliku Lopusonad - The Singer's Closing Words

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3175c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | Primarily a cappella Estonian Choral Music


Estonian National Male Choir : Visions Beyond Estonia : 00  1 CD : Ants Soots : Veljo Tormis : ncd 31

Estonian National Male Choir : Visions Beyond Estonia

Review: Three selections of Veljo Tormis music recorded my Ants Soots and Estonian National Male Choir have been published under the title "Vision of Estonia", the present fourth selection consists of compositions based on the old songs of other peoples, hence the title "Visions Beyond Estonia". Though Tormis has always stressed that he's is a national composer, and the previous "Visions" have clearly introduced him as an Estonian composer, his combative position for Estonian cultural heritage is actually quite open and sympathetic with the defense of nature, traditional cultures and endangered peoples in general.

Songlist: Bulgarian Tryptych, North Russian Bylina, Three Moldovan-Hungarian Folk Songs, Three Stars, Three Livonian Folk Songs, Pictures from Vormsi's Past, Vepsian Winter, The Eagle Flew from the North East, Peoples' Friendship Rhapsody, Vainamoinen's Words of Wisdom

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3517c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 | Primarily a cappella Estonian Choral Music


Estonian National Male Choir : Silva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars /  Toivo Tulev : 00  1 CD : Kaspars Putnins : Gavin Bryars : 640999911620 : 11

Estonian National Male Choir : Silva Caledonia - Gavin Bryars / Toivo Tulev

Review: Following his highly successful recordings with the Latvian Radio Choir, Gavin Bryars moves on to a recording with the Estonian National Male Choir, the largest professional men's choir in the world. "... The music of Gavin Bryars falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. He is one of the few composers who can put slapstick and primal emotion alongside each other. He allows you to witness new wonders in the sounds around you by approaching them from a completely new angle. With a third ear maybe. . ." Michael Ondaatje

Songlist: Double Bass Concerto- Farewell to St. Petersburg, Memento, Silva Caledonia, O Oriens, The Summons , Ian in the Broch

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2332c | 00 1 CD | $16.95 | Some a cappella Men's Choirs CDs


Estonian National Male Choir : Esther Magii - Tree of Song : 00  1 CD : Esther Magii : ncd 25

Estonian National Male Choir : Esther Magii - Tree of Song

Review: From her emergence in the 1950s onwards, Ester Magi, born in Tallinn in 1922, has quietly built up a body of works that can be seen as among the most directly representative of Estonian national music. Relying on traditions, Ester Magi's idiom has gone through a modernisation process during half a century, yet retaining intrinsic modesty. The persistent features of her work are fine sense of form, transparent texture and subtle or objective mode of expression. Mostly her works are based on brief thematic cores borrowed from or characteristic to Estonian folk melodies. Variational forms or variational treatment of musical material is predominant in her work. Winning her first state prize in 1980 she has firmly established her position among the leading lights of contemporary Estonian music.

Songlist: Soov, Isamaa, Kuidas Elaksid?, Murdunud aer, Oolaul, Uks hetk, Kerko-kell, Jouluohtul, Ta tuli, Laulikutele, Pieta, Lapi laul, Hulkurpoiss, Uhele lapsele, Aiu-puiu, Vahtralt valgo pilve paale, Tuule tuba

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8558c | 00 1 CD | $15.95 Estonian Choral Music


Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia : 00  1 CD : Ants Soots : Tormis, Velijo : NCD 17

Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia

Review: Veljo Tormis is best known for his preservation of folk songs and folklore in his music. On Vision of Estonia, his concern for the oppression of the Estonian people is mixed with this aspect. These pieces for male choir are fantastic. The title piece "Vision of Estonia" was written during the fall of the Soviet Union and finished when Estonian independence was declared. Tormis is also known for his orchestral choral sounds. In "Incantation for the Sea" and "Litany to Thunder" he translates the dramatic images depicted in the poetry into massive choral sounds. "Incantation for the Sea" comes from the epic poem Kalevala. Due to international interest in his music, Tormis uses a Latin translation to make his piece widely accessible to non-Estonian speaking choirs. The Estonian National Male Choir, led by Ants Soots, is dynamic in this music which honors their country.

Songlist: Double Dedication (Diptych), Vision of Estonia, The Viru Oath, Draught, Story of a Betrayer, The Last Ship (Valse triste), Hamlet's Songs, Incantatio maris aestuosi, Litany to Thunder, Our Shadows (Once We Will Reappear), Herding Calls, The Sarcasms of Juhan Liiv, A Conscripts's Escape from Toompea Castle Home to Kuusalu

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7171c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | Primarily a cappella Estonian Choral Music


Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia 2 : 00  1 CD : Ants Soots : Veljo Tormis : ncd 20

Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia 2

Review: Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (1930-) emphasizes the role of verbal text and its message in his compositions, directed at the present, past and future of Estonian life. Written for men's chorus, "Visions of Estonia II" records in music the anxiety that was suppressed through the decades of Soviet repression. With "The Ballad of Mary's Land," composed in 1969, Tormis began a series of powerful large-scale choral compositions containing also his most famous work, "The Curse Upon Iron" for mixed chorus, written in 1972. "Reflections with Hando Runnel" (1981), is one of a series of short, sarcastic songs of protest he wrote during that period. "Days of Outlawry," with the subject of resistance fighting, was written for the banned film "The Outlaws;" "Journey of the War Messenger" and "Let The Sun Shine" take their texts from the Estonian National epic "Kalevipoeg." "Forget-me-not" is a national lament dedicated to former chief conductor Gustav Ernesada. Although none of these 23 songs is in English, we can feel the power and Tormis' deep feeling within this music through the performance of the Estonian National Male Choir.

Songlist: The ballad of Mary's Land, Reflections with Hando Runnel, Days of Outlawry, God Protect Us from War, Journey of the War Messenger, Let the Sun Shine!, Voices from Tammsaare's Herdboy Days, Forget-me-not, Men's Songs

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7283c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella Estonian Choral Music


Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia 3 : 00  1 CD : Ants Soots : Veljo Tormis : ncd 23

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Estonian National Male Choir : Visions of Estonia 3

Review: The third collection under the title "Vision of Estonia" continues recording the work of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis by the veteran Estonian National Male Choir. All song titles and lyrics of the piece are in Estonian. These lyrics, their meanings, and the history of the composer, the choir, and this dramatic, powerful piece are included in the extensive liner notes. The deeply emotional composition, written under the thumb of the Soviet occupation of Estonia, is divided into 32 movements--from the eight parts of "Dialektilisi aforisme," all less than a minute in length, and the 9-minute "Muistse mere laulud" to the intense 2 -minute "Sottaminck." "Vision III" a difficult, eclectic work that explodes into non-vocal percussion and vocal outbursts of protest and pride. Luckily, it is being sung by one of the best all-male choirs in the world, who perform it with tremendous spirit and feeling. Some accompaniment.

Songlist: The Singer, Songs Of The Ancient Sea, Plague Memory, Feelin' Groovy (The 59th Street Bridge Song), Going To War, Dialectical Aphorisms, Song About Level Land, We Are Given, An Aboriginal Song, The Estonians Political Parties Game, Song About Keeping Together, Martinmas Songs, Christmas Is Coming, Shrovetide Songs, Three I Had Those Words Of Beauty

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8484c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A Cappella Estonian Choral Music

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