“The music of Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tüür is unclassifiable among the various schools that flourish in the Baltic states. It proceeds in large gestures but is too dissonant as a rule to be called neo-Romantic. It is very tightly constructed, and Tüür has even flirted with 12-tone music, but there is nothing of the systematic about it. Its economy shows the impact of the minimalist music that surrounded the composer, but it is oriented toward expression rather than the musical planes of minimalism. Although there is no hint of popular rhythms, there are traces of Tüür's background in progressive rock; there is a certain mystical quality in common. Tüür is best known for his orchestral music, but these features are also present in these examples of his chamber music, all of them composed after the year 2000. The violin-and-cello duo Synergie (2010) was composed for Renaud and Gautier Capuçon but is splendidly performed here by the husband-and-wife pair of Florian Donderer and Tanja Tetzlaff, engaging in sharply etched dialogue. The pieces are evocatively titled, and the piano trio Lichttürme (Light Towers), with rising melodies that are characteristic of Tüür, offers a fine example of how the sound sculptures of this composer linger in the memory. Tüür needs high-energy, precise performances, and that is what he gets from the various chamber players present, including Donderer's Signum Quartett. It goes without saying that ECM delivers superior engineering, but the label's work here, from the Sendesaal Bremen, is nonpareil.”
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