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Svanholm Singers

Svanholm Singers

Svanholm Singers is an extraordinary male voice chamber choir. Since its formation in 1998, the ensemble has established itself as one of the brightest shining stars on the Swedish choral scene. The twenty talented singers constantly strive to develop and refine their artistic and musical expression, through vocal music for male voices. The core of the repertoire is the male choir tradition of Scandinavia and the Baltic. Through numerous tours and awards in Europe and Japan the ensemble has gained a reputation for performances characterized by spirit, joy and youth while making unique interpretations of classical music. The light voices of the singers in combination with an exact intonation create a unique sound that has become the trademark for Svanholm Singers.

Discography

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Svanholm Singers : Veljo Tormis: Works for Men's Voices  : 00  1 CD : Veljo Tormis : TCCT73.2

Svanholm Singers : Veljo Tormis: Works for Men's Voices

Review: Although Veljo Tormis is the second-most-famous modern Estonian composer (the most famous being Arvo Part), his music remains scarcely known in the west. Unlike Part, Tormis' work hasn't undergone a major stylistic shift; he has remained committed to using Estonian folk song as a basis for his music from the beginning of his career. He's not simply an arranger or transcriber, though. The folk influence may be overt, or principles of its structure and distinctive characteristics may be submerged in a thoroughly contemporary soundworld. Even the most clearly modern pieces have a sense of emotional gravity and primal power that set them apart as the work of an individual musical thinker. Choral music has always been Tormis' preferred medium, and he has written over 500 choral works. This small sampling of works for (or arranged for) men's voices demonstrates the power and originality of his imagination. There is a sense in which his work seems a-historical, the product of a real maverick; it's hard to pinpoint any classical tradition or earlier composers from which his sound might have been derived. Composers since have made some of Tormis' qualities sound commonplace, but he has been writing like this throughout his long career. Central to his distinctiveness is his use of texture and rhythm, as elements more prominent than melody or harmony; the melodies may not stay with you, but the power of the driving pulse and eccentric textures is unforgettable. Many of the works include what would technically be considered extended vocal techniques, but in this context sound more primal than modern -- panting, shouting, chanting, whispering, and whistling. Tormis also uses a hugely resonant shamanic drum in several pieces, and it contributes to the ritualistic, primitive atmosphere that some of his work creates. One of the most effective pieces recorded here is also his most famous, Raua needmine (Curse Upon Iron), which has a profound monumentality and a sense that a mysterious rite is being enacted. Svanholm Singers, directed by Sofia Soderberg Eberhard, performs this music as if it had it in its blood. The group shows remarkable assurance in singing not only with obvious discipline, but with the wildness the music requires. The sound is full, present, and immediate. Fans of modern choral music who aren't familiar with Tormis' music owe it to themselves to explore it, and this collection makes a terrific place to start.

Songlist: An Aboriginal Song, I'd Like to Sing a Song, Stars, Crosswind, Our Shadows (Once We Will Reappear), Forging the Sampo, The Bishop and the Pagan, Incantation for a Stormy Sea, Men's Song, Bundling Song, Betrothal Visit Song, Song of the Turkish War, Serf's Song, Dancing Song, Curse Upon Iron

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6097c | 00 1 CD | $18.95 | A Cappella Estonian Choral Music

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