Erkki-Sven Tüür: Crystallisatio

Tallinn Chamber Orchestra

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Tõnu Kaljuste conductor


Architectonics VI






Recorded June 1995

ECM New Series 1590


This record demonstrates his dazzling compositional skills to a much greater extent, from the jigsaw construction of Illusion (also of pop-single length with a trick ending - fantastic!), to the accomplished flute writing and interwoven electronics of the title track, and the simple upwards momentum of Passion.
If Tüür is a credit to Estonian educators, so are the performes: The Tallinn Chamber Orchestra with The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.
Perhaps he's just bloody good - exactly how good may take a little more time to figure out. 

THE WIRE / Great Britain - April 1996  John Walters

Erkki-Sven Tüür, a 36-year-old composer who began as a progressive rock musician. The five head-spinning works on his album Crystallisatio (ECM New Series 78118-21590-2) include the free-floating but firmly structured "Architectonics VI" for flute, clarinet, vibraphone and strings, the slow-gathering "Passion" for strings, the elegant deconstruction of a baroque motif in "Illusion", and a fine-spun "Requiem" choral mass that raises a Gregorian chant out of medieval ooze and sets it loose in postmodern orbit with frightening beauty. Wolfgang Sander's essay in the album notes pinpoints the masterful, time-traveling quality of his brilliant discovery: "Tüür's music sounds as if it had strolled through the history of music assimilating theoretical inspiration and practical experience along the way. Then it seems to have wrapped itself up in a cocoon, immune to the outside world, there to develop its own contours..." The superb musicians are the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER - July I, 1996  Charles Michener


Tüür's music has both the spiritual directness of the music of former Soviet composers- Pärt, Kancheli or Gubaidulina, for example - and the postmodern adventurousness of some of his Finnish colleagues, such as Lindberg and Salonen.

BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE - June 1996  Helen Wallace


Der Este Tüür (Jahrgang 1959) bedient sich bei seinen Kompositionen Techniken von der Ars Nova des 14. Jahrhundert bis zum Serialismus. Und doch erklingt kein postmoderner An-Biedermeier, sondern faszinierende Musik, die ständig Vertrautes mit Verstörendem kontrastiert.

STEREOPLAY / Germany - June 1996  Lothar Brandt


Music, die vom ersten bis zum letzten Takt fasziniert; Musik eines hier unbekannten estnischen Komponisten, Erkki-Sven Tüür, die, wie viele der neuen Klänge aus dem baltischen Raum, zuerst geistliche (andere würden sagen: poetische) Musik ist. 

ST. GALLER TAGBLATT / Switzerland - April 29, 1996


Estnisch hat Konjunktur. Modales, satte Klänge, greifende Rhythmik. Wenn man alles so behandelt wie der hochbegabte Erkki-Sven Tüür, wenn Verstörendes immer wieder dazwischenfährt wie die zunächst kaum wahrnehmbaren Sirenenklänge am still besinnlichen Beginn des Requiems, dann steht eine neue, ganz persönliche Ausdruckswelt vor dem Hörer überall ist diese Kraft zu spüren.

NEUE MUSIKZEITUNG / Germany - No. 2, 1996


Born in 1959 in Estonia, Erkki-Sven Tuur began his career as a progressive rock composer, but, by 1991, he was already teaching at the Tallinn conservatory. You'll find no hint of rock in these scores, though it's hard not to catch similarities with the music of Part and Tuur's teacher, Lepo Sumera.

In the 1992 "Architectonics" (for flute, clarinet, vibraphone and strings), he works in harmonics, serial passages and minimalist repetitions, yet the piece exudes a striking originality. The eclectic style reaps potent results in "Crystallisatio" (1995), which unites three flutes, bells, strings and live electronics. A single note generates a sonic landscape filled with tremendous tensions, and one detects a bit of Olivier Messiaen.

On the other hand, there's a hint of Sibelius in the gathering of materials in the all-string "Passion" (1993); and "Illusion" (of the same vintage and instrumentation) is a neo-baroque dance. The 29-minute "Requiem" (1994) is the major work here. The performing forces (soprano, tenor, mixed choir, triangle, piano and strings) aren't all that unusual. But Tuur uses them with remarkable force, beginning with a

"Requiem aeternam" for basses, triangle and string glissandi. Dissonances intrude and melt away, leaving transparent textures.

Overall, this 65-minute collection is one of the more mesmerizing and beautiful CDs to come out of Northern Europe in some time. Sound and performance adhere to the high standards of the ECM New Series.

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER - July 26, 1996  Allan Ulrich