Performers:Conductor Mikk Üleoja
Mendelssohn, Matsushita, Maimets, Reger, Janulyte, Bonato
The 75th jubilee concert focuses primarily on tomorrow. The program consists of a demanding repertoire, which can also be called a musical promenade from a romantic era to the contemporary are accompanied by a male choir. There is pure beauty, juggling dexterity, there is concentration and deep thoughts and, if you wish, also power demonstration. Musical geography extends from Japan to Estonia, and alongside a couple of centuries-old masterpieces, we will hear music that is composed for us, for those present, just for this moment.
The Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Male Choir said five years ago before the 70th anniversary of the choir: “The National Male Choir will be 70 years old, but it should not create a false image as if its members were of the same age. To break this false image, we give many concerts in the most remote corners of Estonia.” Today it can be said that we have not only been in remote corners but even behind the corner. 75 years is the age when the number of candles on the cake tends to exceed the lung capacity needed to blow them out. However, one can tell from the pure heart – the Estonian National Male Choir is burning with flame lighter than never before. Or as we should say about the male choir – with a dark flame. Indeed, the National Male Choir has visited many corners of Estonia, but despite domestic activities, major challenges have been beyond the national borders. And, so have the greater achievements, successes, and acknowledgments.
The brightest moment of the last five years is definitely the February 2015 concert at the Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra belonging to the absolute top of the world, were the Choir sang Symphony No. 13 (Babi Jar) by Shostakovich under the guidance of the legendary Russian conductor Yuri Temirkanov. It should be said that the Estonian National Male Choir did not get there by chance. In June of the same year, the performance was also performed in Hannover, the large hall of the NDR with the Hannover NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. In the last half of 2015, the choir visited the Shanghai Concert Hall, where it performed “Gurre-Songs” by Schönberg together with the International Male Choir of the Lübeck Academy. In April 2016, the choir visited Armenia, where Mikk Üleoja was awarded the gold medal of the Armenian Ministry of Culture for the promotion and popularization of Armenian culture. The second half of the year took the National Male Choir again to Russia, this time to the famous Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of Moscow, where together the State Academic Symphony Orchestra named after Evgeny Svetlanov, Russian National Symphony Orchestra, women’s group of Yurlov Russian State Academic Choir and the Grand Popov Children’s Chorus, they performed an opera-oratorio El Niño (“The Child”) by the American composer John Adams. In January 2018, together with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the choir participated in Estonia, Latvia, and the Lithuania 100 concert program “The Musical Baltic Chain” where it performed for the first time the work by Justė Janulytė “Here at the quiet limit” and “Questions” by Erkki-Sven Tüü. Already in February, the suitcases were packed again to travel to Dresden, where in addition to the concert with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra and soloist Mikhail Petrenko also Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar” by Dmitry Shostakovich was recorded. A telling fact took place in August of the same year, when one of the most charismatic conductors of Finland, Hannu Lintu, invited the Estonian National Male Choir to the Helsinki Musical Center under the auspices of Finland 100 to record a contemporary high-quality version of “Kullervo Symphony” by Jean Sibelius”. The orchestra was the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and soloists were Johanna Rusanen (soprano) and Ville Rusanen (baritone). Already in September, the same work had to be performed in Tokyo, in the NHK Hall Concert Hall. The soloists were again sister and brother Johanna and Ville Rusanen, NHK Symphony Orchestra and the conductor was Paavo Järvi. Hopefully, for the next five years will bring about equally exciting challenges to the National Male Choir, and not only in a foreign country, but also at home.
The concert in two parts