Helena Tulve: Lijnen

Arianna Savall, Emmanuelle Ophèle-Gaubert, Mihkel Peäske, NYYD Ensemble, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Silesian String Quartet, Olari Elts

First ECM recording from the gifted Estonian composer (born 1972) whose work speaks in its own unique language through a variety of chamber music settings and with a fluid approach to form, sound and sonority. The album begins with her “à travers” for ensemble, which attracted much attention at the 1998 International Rostrum for Composers in Paris and progresses through more recent works including “Lijnen”, with the wonderful voice of Arianna Savall, “Öö” with the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, and “nec ros, nec pluvia” with the Silesian String Quartet. Tulve has been closely associated with Estonia’s creative chamber group the NYYD Ensemble over the last decade and they deliver committed performances of her work under the direction of outstanding young conductor Olari Elts.

Featured Artists Recorded

1997-2006

Original Release Date

20.05.2008

  • 1à travers (for ensemble)
    (Helena Tulve)
    09:51
  • 2Lijnen (for voice and ensemble)
    (Roland Jooris, Helena Tulve)
    10:24
  • 3Öö (for saxophone quartet)
    (Helena Tulve)
    11:20
  • 4abysses (for flutes and ensemble)
    (Helena Tulve)
    09:57
  • 5cendres (for ensemble)
    (Helena Tulve)
    08:26
  • 6nec ros, nec pluvia... (for string quartet)
    (Helena Tulve)
    09:54
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Bestenliste 3/2008
 
Her music has a real fluid sculptural quality, conceived within a soundworld that is frequently dominated by wind instruments. It’s not music that goes out of its way to be ingratiating, but as this highly impressive collection shows, behind this take-it-or-leave-it façade lurks music of real personality and expressive depth.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
 
Begegnungen mit der Schule der musique spectrale, mit dem gregorianischen Choral und mit rituellen Klängen des Orients brachten sie auf die eigene Spur einer reich kolorierten mit Mikrointervallen durchsetzten, scheinbar schwebenden Einstimmigkeit. Am Naturhaften, Fließenden entzündet sich Tulves Klangphantasie. … „Lijnen“, eine Reminiszenz à Luciano Berio, gibt der Platte den Titel: das vor fünf Jahren notierte Ensemblestück bündelt Bläser, Streicher, Percussions-Instrumente und die menschliche Stimme. Aus ihnen entwirft die junge Estin ein ungemein filigranes, virtuoses Gewebe von Klängen. Von außen betrachtet scheinbar ganz statisch, suggerieren sie wie ein Naturphänomen einen erst zu- dann wieder abnehmenden Fluss an Energie und Intensität. … Ein vielversprechendes Plattendebut.
Frank Kämper, „Die neue Platte“ / Deutschlandfunk
 
Das Ausgangsmaterial, Klänge und Gesten, ist reduziert, doch es entfaltet in seiner Gestalthaftigkeit sofort eine Aura. Aus dem Klang wachsen bildhafte Assoziationen heraus: Landschaften, Räume, Empfindungen von Nähe und Distanz. Archaisches wird herbeigerufen, ohne Naivität, vielmehr in einer Raffinesse der Instrumentenbehandlung und des harmonischen Denkens, die als zweite Natur erscheint. … Selten hört man neue Musik, die so sehr aus sich selbst spricht und dabei doch so viel über die Welt zu sagen scheint.
Martin Wilkening, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
 
Die Sprache und Landschaft Estlands habe ihre Arbeit beeinflusst, sagt die Komponistin Helena Tulve. Tatsächlich eröffnen sich beim Hören ihrer stets filigranen, oft gespenstig zarten, gelegentlich aber auch erdig elementaren Musik Assoziationen an mit der Natur verbundene Zustände oder Prozesse. … Größtenteils wirken die Werke weniger konstruiert als ereignishaft fließend, was aggressive Steigerungen nicht ausschließt. Geräuschelemente – und es gibt deren viele in Tulves Musik – erscheinen nicht als Selbstzweck, sondern als unaufdringlicher organischer Bestandteil des Materials.
Die Interpreten … widmen sich mit Präzision und viel klanglicher Finesse den Werken einer Komponistin, von der man in Zukunft noch viel hören wird.
Thomas Schulz, Fono Forum
 
 
 
“Lijnen” is the first ECM album devoted to the music of Helena Tulve. Born in 1972, Tulve studied with Erkki-Sven Tüür at the Estonian Academy of Music, but is also amongst the first wave of Estonian composers to have completed her musical education beyond her country’s borders, a possibility unavailable to artists who grew up in the years of Soviet rule. Tulve headed for Paris where she took first prize in Jacques Charpentier’s composition class and also studied at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM. There were also master classes with György Ligeti and Marco Stroppa, as well as studies of Gregorian chant and more.

Although Tulve has said that the Estonian landscape and language has influenced her work her musical universe has also absorbed influences from the French ‘Spectralist’ school and from electronic and electro-acoustic music, and is distinguished by a fresh and fluid approach to form, sound and sonority that also implies points of contact with the textures and timbres of non-idiomatic improvisation. Or as Wolfgang Sandner puts it in the liner notes, “Nothing is disqualified in her music, nothing substituted, nothing suppressed or supplanted. One of the fine qualities of her music is that much of it works as if it were not composed, as if it just happened, as if the instrument were playing itself rather than being played, as if the music were emanating from a set of wind chimes. In her music, forms do not jostle their way into the foreground. Their structures are like rocks or trees: everything is self-evident; much is gnarled, much is beautiful; some things are mysterious, others plain as day. It begins, it develops, and at the end it possesses consistency – in memory.” Recognised as a major composer in Estonia where she was voted Musician of the Year in 2005, her reputation is steadily spreading through the wider world, with awards including the International Rostrum of Composers Prize (1999) and the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize for Composition (2006).

Tulve’s ECM debut amounts to a summary of directions her music has taken in the last decade. “Lijnen”, the title piece, is a dedication to Luciano Berio. Written in 2003, the year of the Italian composer’s death, it sets poetry by Roland Jooris that is concerned with enduring and penetrating influence: “The reed suggests the absent wind.” Arianna Savall, in her second ECM appearance (the first was with Rolf Lislevand) is the singer. The ensemble – as on “à travers”, “abysses”, and “cendres”, is the NYDD Ensemble, the chamber ensemble dedicated to contemporary music, which took its name from the NYYD (“now” in Estonian) Festival. Conductor Olari Elts formed the NYYD Ensemble in 1993 and has been incorporating Tulve’s music in its repertoire throughout the group’s history. Elts and the NYYD Ensemble previously appeared on ECM New Series playing Erkki-Sven Tüür’s “Salve Regina” and “Oxymoron” (ECM 1919, released in 2007).

Arianna Savall, born into a family of distinguished Catalan musicians, is active as a singer and harpist across genres from early music to experimental music and improvisation. she has recorded widely, under her own name and as a member of ensembles led by Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras, Rolf Lislevand and others.

Of the flutists featured on “abysses”, Mihkel Peäske is a member of NYYD, and Emmanuelle Ophèle-Gaubert has worked with the Ensemble InterContemporain under Pierre Boulez, both on recordings and in concert.

The Silesian String Quartet, heard on “nec ros, nec pluvia”, was founded in 1978 by graduates of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. The quartet has performed more than 1000 concerts around the world since then, with a strong emphasis on contemporary music directions, and a burgeoning discography that includes acclaimed recordings of Górecki, Penderecki, Symanowski, Lutoslawski and more.

The Stockhokm Saxophone Quartet, heard on “Öö”, has collaborated with NYDD in the past and has stayed at the forefront of new music developments since the1970s. The group was founded 35 years ago, and its personnel has remained stable for the last 20 years. The quartet has worked with many composers including Tüür, Xenakis, Donatoni, and Pousseur.