Vanalinna Muusikamaja tüdrukud: Käsikivimäng
This live recording of the Vanalinna Muusikamaja (Old Town Music Hall) Estonian girl’s choir performing Veljo Tormis‘ adaptation of a traditional singing game really makes me wish I had been there to hear this electrifying performance in person. It’s from the 2007 Tolosa Choral Contest in Tolosa Spain.
I had the honor of meeting Veljo Tormis when he came to visit the University of Washington a few years ago. He is probably the most important person I’ve ever met, an artist who will probably be remembered a hundred years from now, but no one I know would have heard of him if I hadn’t told them who he was. Funny how that works.
I first heard Veljo Tormis’ arrangements of Finno-Ugric folk songs years and years ago. There used to be a radio show on KUOW that played new choral and orchestral music, and we were listening to it in my sister’s car on the way home one night. I was so taken by the music that I rushed into the house when we got home to record the rest of the program on cassette (that’s how long ago this was), but I was too late – the show had ended.
Several years later I was in Helsinki and went into Digelius record shop. Noticing that they had folk and choral music from the Baltic countries, I remembered the songs I had heard on the radio and asked if they had a recording of an Estonian choir singing pieces from a collection called Missing Peoples or Disappearing Places, or something, I couldn’t remember. The proprietor walked straight over to a drawer and picked the record out for me. It’s called Forgotten Peoples. If you like choral music and haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it.