In his Symphony No. 6 (“Strata”) the Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tuur creates kaleidoscopic soundscapes, whose shimmering timbres ebb and flow in alluring patterns, vibrantly illuminated here by Anu Tali and the Nordic Symphony Orchestra. The disc also includes Mr. Tuur’s sensual “Noesis,” featuring the clarinetist (and composer) Jorg Widmann and his sister the violinist Carolin Widmann as the excellent soloists.
Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times (Classical Albums of the Year)
The overall result is music of monumental power but fairly straightforward construction. … His musical ideas … are always well-served by his skill at orchestration. Indeed, the ideas seems to be founded on the orchestral colours used to present them. This is truly idiomatic orchestral music, with every instrument put skilfully to the service of the musical ideas. In this sense, perhaps it is symphonic, although on an extremely abstract level.
Gavin Dixon, Classical CD Reviews
Vertical and layered in form, “Strata” is austere and powerful music with a clearly Northern sensibility. The textures swirl and surge restlessly, building tension with harsh, emphatic brass chords set against high winds. There is an instense staccato outburst halfway through – with malign, mach-like drumming passages – evincing the composer’s rock influenes. Near the end, Tüür uses a pastoral motif from an Estonian (“Setu”) folksong, as the music slows down and coalesces in a shimmering coda and a sense of infinity in its long slow fade to silence. Performances by the Nordic Symphony Orchestra under Anu Tali are bracing, powerful, and very well recorded. Highly recommended.
Lawrence A. Johnson, The classical review
Tüür’s recent music is capable of a passionate immediacy that’s often quite refreshing. Yet at the same time, he’s unafraid of employing swaths of dissonance and creating intricate formal desings. “Strata”, Tüür’s Sixth Symphony, is an intense work, brimming with dynamic power. Emerging from icy verticals and bustling counterpoint are myriad swells of knotty cluster chords and fierce, angular melodies, which gradually build to explosive orchestral climaxes. “Strata” is paired with “Noesis”, a double concerto for the sibling duo of violinist Carolin Widmann and clarinetist Jörg Widmann. One again, Tüür has fashioned a labyrinthine journey in a single formidable and fascinating movement. Recommended.
Christian Carey, Sequenza 21
At the end of the day, this is all very passionate music. The mind may need to work a bit at registering those passions. However, as that registration begins to take hold, that mind will relish the richness of the listening experience.
Stephan Smoliar, Examiner
There has always been something elemental in a Sibelian sense about Erkki-Sven Tüür’s music; words such as “granitic” and “magmatic” come readily to mind. With the Sixth Symphony, completed in 2007, this elementalism is made clearly manifest. The title “Strata” already suggests a connection with the forces of nature, with rock, with earth, with erosion, and the constantly changing textures of the work reinforce this in no uncertain terms. […] “Noësis”, from two years earlier, is a quite different prospect. Cast as a concerto for clarinet and violin, it deals with philosophical rather than gelogical questions and is correspondingly “airier”. […] One suspects, in fact, that Tüür has become a bashful melodist; it often seems that there are countless tendrils of tunes here endeavouring to escape from the jungel of texture that surrounds them. The performances are outstanding: Anu Tali (b. 1972) already has a very high reputation, and this beautifully recorded and produced disc is without doubt another jewel in her crown. Recording quality is first-class.
Ivan Moody, International record review
Er staunt gerne über die Mysterien dieser Welt, auch über die eigenen, die er mit Klängen und immer größer werdenden Klangballungen in die Welt setzt. … So ungewöhnlich Tüürs Musik sein kann, so vertraut wirkt sie beim spontanen Hören, so vielgestaltig und farbig, so erzählfreudig und stimmungskonzentriert.
Helmut Mauró, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Cast in one large movement, the work explores “geological” layers of sound, and manifests much of its strength through harmonic tensions and exotic use of percussion.
Kurt Loft, Sarasota Herald-Tribune