Dame Evelyn Glennie percussion

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Estonian National Male Choir

Paavo Järvi conductor

Symphony No. 4 "Magma" for percussion and orchestra

Inquiétude du fini for mixed choir and orchestra

Igavik (Eternity) for male choir and orchestra

The Path and the Traces for strings


Virgin Classics 385 785-2



There is much of the cosmic in the work of Erkki-Sven Tüür. Worlds seem to shift and occasionally collide, and his monumental Fourth Symphony is inexorably compelling, not least thanks to the virtuoso percussion playing of Evelyn Glennie. A rather awesome disc.


GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2007



Music hewn from granite: the most rewarding Tüür collection to date?

Estonia’s best-known internationally orientated modernist has composed six symphonies (the latest having had its premiere earlier this year in Tallinn), among which the 30‑minute single-movement Fourth, dating from 2002 and subtitled Magma, is outstanding. Tüür’s style is essentially mobile-sculptural: which is to say that shifting sound-masses count for more than expressivity. Sibelius is a distant yet clear affinity, and Lutoslawski and the sonorism of the Polish school of the 1960s and ’70s supply something of the technical means. At its gentlest – as in the tinkling early stages of Magma – the effect resembles Oliver Knussen; at its toughest, Elliott Carter. Impersonal yet irresistible forces seem to guide the structure, while the orchestra builds up a succession of analogies to unpopulated landscapes and natural forces. Behind the sonic richness and the dazzling surfaces there is an ascetic instinct at work: a refusal to take easy, opportunistic paths and an immensely impressive traversal of craggier ones.

Though written for Evelyn Glennie, who takes the solo percussion part with superb aplomb, this really is a symphony rather than a flashy, beefed-up concerto. It stays just on that side of the divide everywhere except in the brief cadenza at approximately the half-way mark.

The other three works on this disc feel similarly substantial and born of inner necessity. The Path and the Traces is simply the finest recently composed piece I have heard for string orchestra, and each of the choral items is memorable, without sacrificing complexity. Tüür is currently well represented on CD, but this new disc strikes me as probably the most rewarding devoted to his music, no doubt partly because performances and recordings are first-class. If the prospect of challenging, granite-hewn musical invention has any appeal, then this is a must.

Gramophone 10/2007 David Fanning



BBC Music Magazine

Orchestral Choice - August 2007 

Not yet 50, Estonian Erkki-Sven Tüür’s claims to be considered one of the most vibrant contemporary talents can only be enhanced by this stimulating programme. Magma, nominally his Fourth Symphony, is really a percussion concerto that throws Evelyn Glennie (for whom it was written) exuberantly upon a large kitchen department, with ear-stupefying results. While its dissonant, colouristically driven language is polystylistically up to the minute, the earlier Inquiétude du fini for chorus and orchestra develops an austere and resonant nobility, with grave modal melody that suggests a Baltic Vaughan Williams – perhaps a result of its dedication to Arvo Pärt. A profounder gravity infuses the recent (2006) Igavik (‘Eternity’) for male chorus and orchestra, a sombre memorial piece, while The Path and the Traces for string orchestra (2005) is a haunting musical landscape that, for all its occasionally outré sonorities, reconfirms Tüür’s Nordic credentials and his direct attachment to the Estonian elegiac traditions of earlier composers like Heino Eller.

Glennie is at her most charismatic in Magma, an intoxicatingly physical score; the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi not only supports her blow for blow but plays the entire programme with a palpable sense of passionate conviction. Virgin’s recording is of demonstration standard, the climaxes in Magma frequently awe-inspiring

BBC Music Magazine 08/2007 Calum Macdonald




GGramophone Awards 2008

Finalist - Contemporary