‘Pärt wrote the piece for this choir, and it’s hard to imagine it sung by anyone else. … balance between the voices was sublime, as was the sense of phrasing and, crucially, space.’
For the first time in Australia audiences will be treated to a performance of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s transcendent Kanon Pokajanen. Memorialised in a recording that has been hailed by Gramophone as ‘faultless’ this rarely heard work is based on sixth-century chants sung at daybreak in Orthodox monasteries.
The Kanon was commissioned to commemorate the 750th anniversary of Cologne Cathedral and received its premiere there in 1998, performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under the direction of its founder Tõnu Kaljuste, who also leads the choir in Perth. Written almost exclusively in D minor and sung in Church Slavonic, the mystical and serene music quietly pulses with shade and colour illuminated by the text of an Orthodox hymn. Vocal lines unfold and repeat in Pärt’s unique tintinnabuli style, where the heavenly notes linger and resonate around Winthrop Hall.
Image: Kristian Kruuser
Duration: 70 min
Fri 15 Feb 7pm
Enhance your Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir experience this Festival by enjoying a sumptuous meal in the University Club of Western Australia’s award-winning Club Restaurant.
See the menu and how to book HERE.
The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (the EPCC) is one of the best-known Estonian music groups in the world. The choir was founded in 1981 by Tõnu Kaljuste, who went on to be its Artistic Director and Chief Conductor for 20 years. Between 2001–07, the English musician Paul Hillier took over and from 2008 to 2013 the choir was conducted by Daniel Reuss from the Netherlands. Since autumn of 2014, the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor has been a Latvian, Kaspars Putniņš. Every season the EPCC gives 60–70 concerts both in Estonia and abroad. Their repertoire extends from Gregorian chant and Baroque to the music of the 21st century, with a special focus on the works of Estonian composers Arvo Pärt, Veljo Tormis, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Galina Grigorjeva, Tõnu Kõrvits and others.
In addition to a cappella music, the programs feature major vocal-symphonic works by Bach, Händel, Haydn, Mozart, Brahms and Rachmaninov as well as opera productions. Concert tours have taken the EPCC everywhere in Europe, as well as to Australia, Mexico, China, South Korea, Japan, plus 15 times to the USA and Canada. The choir has been a welcome guest at outstanding music festivals and venues including the BBC Proms, Mozartwoche, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Festival Aix-en-Provence, the International Cervantino Festival, the Sydney Opera House, Wiener Konzerthaus, Versailles Opéra Royal, the Barbican Centre, the Esplanade in Singapore, the Kennedy Center in Washington, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The EPCC has worked with many outstanding conductors including Claudio Abbado, Helmuth Rilling, Eric Ericson, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Olari Elts, Roland Böer, Frieder Bernius, Stephen Layton, Marc Minkowski, Sir Colin Davis, Paul McCreesh, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and Gustavo Dudamel. AS well as working with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the EPCC has collaborated with internationally renowned orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Salzburg Camerata, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The choir has recorded music for labels such as ECM, Virgin Classics, Carus, Harmonia Mundi and Ondine, often resulting in award-winning CDs. They have won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance twice and have received 15 Grammy nominations and other awards including the Diapason d’Or, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Danish Music Award.
Click here to listen to this page (inclusive of all 3 Estonian Philharmonic Chamber events during the festival).