Estonian Music Days shows what makes the band

  • 2012-03-14
  • By Sam Logger

IN TUNE: Music Days gets the audience participating with the musicians.

TALLINN - Music has always been about the final product, which is offered to the audience for their approval or disapproval. It rarely happens that the listener tries to sense a musical piece from the composer’s point of view, as the consumer’s opinion is more important.
Estonian Music Days 2012, which takes place in Tallinn from March 19-24, focuses attention on the spirit and exaltation of making a band. Since the first festival, which put down a strong foundation in 1979, it has opened the door for everyone that is interested in Estonian contemporary music.

Eino Tamberg, an influential Estonian composer and one of the leaders of the Estonian Music Days idea, has described the festival from two perspectives. “Firstly, we wish to give an overview about Estonian music for our audience and guests. Their participation certainly contributes in distributing our music, in case they find some of it interesting. Secondly, when we have listened to our music in so numerous performances, it helps ourselves to shape a better overview, what kind of positive sides our oeuvre has, and where we have gaps,” he said. This quote perfectly explains the meaning of the festival, and this idea is still alive today.

The organizers, Estonian Composers’ Union (ECU), note that “the band as one of today’s most organic forms of making music together is rather associated with pop and rock music, but the best contemporary music ensembles are actually driven by the same kind of spirituality.” That is why the festival outlines the ways members of the band work as a team to achieve the same goal, and convey this understanding to the audience. “It is [...] important for composers to have good relations with ensembles which perform their music after the premiere as well. Together with musicians and ensembles composers can develop ideas which work for both sides, and for audience as well,” the representatives of ECU, Riin Eensalu and Maria Molder, explain.

What can visitors hope for? Diverse and expressive ensembles which know what music is! The festival is full of premieres from both experienced bands, like Resonabilis and Ensemble U, and aspiring students who still seek the approval of the audience.

The headline of the festival is the symphony concert, scheduled on March 23. It unites many amazing artists, such as the talented singer Iiris and pianist Rein Rannap. Additionally, the festival offers an opportunity for interesting interaction. “Estonian Music Days are a good place to experiment with new ideas and genres,” the representatives say. “Composers who are mainly known for their chamber music can be commissioned for a new piece for choir, [and a] composer who is renowned for film and theater music can compose something for orchestra.”

The term “band” is obviously the most powerful in the environment of music. It displays communication in sub-levels, and they allow creating an amazing mix of sounds, all of them accurate and in tune. It is easy to forget sometimes that collaboration within the band is crucial to make all instruments sound like one. When we listen, we are kept busy with the “product,” not the hard work which is put in by the musicians and composer. Only then, when we start tracing one instrument of the band, do we realize the various paths of music and the mastery of how these musical threads are stitched together.

Estonian Music Days have literally thrown the audience in the journey which portrays the magnificence of the band and its significant role in music.

It is often considered that music is made to evaluate the final product, that can be heard on records or in concerts. Surely the credit is given to the musicians and composers for the effort they have put in. This time the visitor is welcome to follow different footsteps of music and catch the moments when teamwork in the band is the most powerful part, letting the sounds travel around the venue and deliver the spirit found within them. For those who admire the music of Arvo Part, Veljo Tormis and Urmas Sisask the festival has secured a great week of entertainment.

Full program and ticket information can be found on