Veljo Tormis

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Annotation last modified on 2011-09-02 12:17 UTC.

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Veljo Tormis (born 7 August 1930 in Kuusalu) is an Estonian composer, regarded as one of the greatest living choral composers and one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Estonia. Internationally, his fame arises chiefly from his extensive body of choral music, which exceeds 500 individual choral songs, most of it a cappella. The great majority of these pieces are based on traditional ancient Estonian folksongs (regilaulud), either textually, melodically, or merely stylistically.

His composition most often performed outside Estonia, Curse Upon Iron (Raua needmine) (1972), invokes ancient Shamanistic traditions to construct an allegory about the evils of war. Some of his works were banned by the Soviet government, but because folk music was fundamental to his style most of his compositions were accepted by the censors.

More recently, Tormis' works have been lionized in worldwide performances and several recordings by Tõnu Kaljuste and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In the 1990s, Tormis also began to receive commissions from some of the pre-eminent a cappella groups in the West such as the King's Singers and the Hilliard Ensemble.

Tormis has famously said of his settings of traditional melodies and verse: "It is not I who makes use of folk music, it is folk music that makes use of me." His work demonstrates his conviction that traditional Estonian and other Balto-Finnic music represents a treasure which must be guarded and nourished, and that culture may be kept alive through the medium of song.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1971 Kolm laulu eeposest / Liivlaste pärandus / Jaanilaulud Veljo Tormis 1
1987 „Kalevala” XVII runo Veljo Tormis; RAM, Olev Oja 1
1992 Forgotten Peoples Veljo Tormis; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste 1
1994 Muistsed hääled Veljo Tormis 1
1994 Ühtehoidmiselaulud Veljo Tormis 1
1995 Bridge of Song Veljo Tormis; Estonian Radio Choir, Toomas Kapten 1
1995 Eepose väljadel Veljo Tormis 1
1996 People of Kalevala Veljo Tormis; R.A.M. Choir 1
1998 Martin: Messe / Tormis: Curse Upon Iron / Lee: Isaiah 53 Martin, Tormis, Lee; Incheon City Chorale, Hak-won Yoon 1
1999 Litany to Thunder Veljo Tormis; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste 1
2000 Laulu palju Veljo Tormis; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste 1
2000 Tähemõrsja Veljo Tormis; Tartu Ülikooli Akadeemilise Naiskoor 1
2001 Vision of Estonia I Veljo Tormis; Estonian National Male Choir, Ants Soots 1
2003 Choral Works Veljo Tormis; Estonian Radio Choir, Toomas Kapten 1
2004 Vision of Estonia II Veljo Tormis; Estonian National Male Choir, Ants Soots 1
2004 Vision of Estonia III Veljo Tormis; Estonian National Male Choir, Ants Soots 1
2006 Forgotten Peoples Veljo Tormis; musica intima 1
2007 Works for Men's Voices Veljo Tormis; Svanholm Singers, Sofia Söderberg Eberhard 1
2007 On American Shores Veljo Tormis; Portland State University Chamber Choir, Bruce Browne 1
2007 Vision of Kalevala Veljo Tormis; Estonian National Male Choir, Ants Soots 1
2007 Visions Beyond Estonia Veljo Tormis; Estonian National Male Choir, Ants Soots 1
2008 Choral Music Veljo Tormis; Holst Singers, Stephen Layton 1
2008 Contemporary Sacred Music from Estonia Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Andres Uibo; Orthodox Singers, Valery Petrov 1
2009 Töötlused: Laulu jäävuse seadus Veljo Tormis 1
2010 Eesti ballaadid Veljo Tormis 1
2012 Curse Upon Iron Veljo Tormis; Orphei Drängar, Cecilia Rydinger Alin 1

EP

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1977 Teeme muusikat (II) Veljo Tormis 1
Teeme muusikat (VIII) Veljo Tormis 1

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