Signum Quartet

Florian Donderer  violin

Tanja Tetzlaff      cello

Harry Traksmann violin

Leho Karin          cello

Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann  piano

Fata Morgana  (2002)

Synergie         (2010)

String Quartet No 2 Lost Prayers  (2012)

Lichttürme      (2017)

ECM New Series 2666


This is a beautifully recorded disc, the performances are absolutely incredible. We´re playing here with the exploration of possible timbres that these instruments are capable of producing, and the performers excel on this. It feels like you´re sitting at the center of this musical kaleidoscope and you´re hearing all the sounds that change into new patterns and configurations around you.

Leah Broad   BBC Radio 3


Erkki-Sven Tüür is best known for his robustly elemental orchestral writing, with nine symphonies and a host of concertos and other large-scale pieces composed to date. Yet, as this album of chamber works attests, he is equally at home with far smaller forces where his trademark dramatic extremes and expansive gestures take on a powerful immediacy close-up.

Named after Tüür’s String Quartet No. 2, Lost Prayers, this album’s collected works are striking for their consistency and coherence over a span of 15 years. Each deploys motivic seeds which, as they grow and mutate, generate organic structures that knit the work together as it were from the inside.

Whether in the quartet (2012), the violin-cello duo Synergie (2010) or piano trios Fata Morgana (2002) and Lichttürme (2017), the resulting idiom is ferociously intense: dissonant with dark, tonal-atonal underpinnings, and replete with pauses and explosions that ricochet outwards in molten trails before re-gathering. All are delivered with exemplary drive and luminosity: the Signum Quartett respond vividly to the changing textures of Tüür’s imagined Lost Prayers, while Florian Donderer (violin) and Tanja Tetzlaff (cello) create pools of colour as they stretch and entwine in the aptly titled Synergie.

But it’s in Fata Morgana and especially Lichttürme (Towers of Light) where the harmonic fields are most resonant, the piano in each case affording a rippling sustain that unites the earthly with the ethereal. Both are beautifully navigated by Harry Traksmann (violin), Leho Karin (cello) and Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann (piano).

BBC Music Magazine (5 stars)

Erkki-Sven Tüür gehört zu den herausragenden Komponisten der Gegenwart. Ihm geht es um Prozesse, die sich hochdramatisch auftürmen oder Pianissimo-Irritationen verfolgen können. Tüür hat einmal zum Vergleich auf das Meeresufer hingewiesen, man sehe die Formen des Sandes unter Wasser oder die Wasseroberfläche in ständiger Bewegung und von den Mustern der Sonne durchwebt. Die CD " Lost Prayers" versammelt vier unterschiedliche Kammermusiken: Das wuchtige Klaviertriostück "Fata Morgana" (Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann, Klavier, Harry Traksmann, Violine, Leho Karin, Violoncello), das fein gewirkte Violine-Violoncello-Duo "Synergie" (Florian Donderer, Tanja Tetzlaff), das dynamisch wogende klangreiche 2. Streichquartett "Lost Prayers" (Signum Quartett) und das sich emporschwingende Klaviertrio "Lichttürme" . Die Spieler verwirklichen Tüürs auch im Zarten immer lebensvolle und anspannende Musik mit Verve und Genauigkeit. (ECM)

Süddeutsche Zeitung. Harald Eggebrecht



Schon mit dem fabelhaft kraftvollen Beginn von ‚Fata Morgana‘ zeigt der 1959 geborene estnische Komponist Erkki-Sven Tüür, dass Kammermusik nicht zwingend Kuschelmusik sein muss. Mit Verve lotst er famose Musiker über einen aufregenden Parcours. Aufreizende Klangfarben sind das bezwingende Ergebnis.

Wolfram Goertz   Rheinische Post


(---) Erkki-Sven Tüür has drifted through the serial, minimal and “sonoristic” currents in full autonomy without ever settling on fixed formulas, so that each piece may develop a distinctive identity, occasionally ineffable and complex but nevertheless vibrant, addressed at anyone who will approach them with a welcoming disposition and free from preconceptions. In the author’s words, propaedeutic to the listening of Lost Prayers, they are “spaces of poetry, full of a wide array of everything that makes us human. There is light and darkness, pain, fury, and a touch of redeeming love”.  (---) Through Erkki-Sven Tüür’s chamber music pages a dáimōn writhes in trying to reconcile the limits of earthly immanence with a transcendent longing, painful awareness with the hidden mystery of being. After the rediscovery of Cyrillus Kreek’s ethereal chorality (The Suspended Harp of Babel, 2020), the ECM New Series welcomes back the powerful and touching work of one of the most authoritative voices in contemporary Estonian music.

Michele Palozzo   8 January 2021   Full review: