Curse Upon Iron
Format: CD + DVD-Video in CD-Dual-Box with 16-page booklet Language: Estonian (English subtitles) Booklet translated: English DVD: concert 97 min PAL(!) 16:9 plus bonus material CURSE UPON IRON is undoubtedly one of the better known works in Estonian choral music. Already in it's original form, it contains all the primary characteristics of this particular project: shamanic chants, rhymes borrowed from Kalevala, the primeval power of runo-singing. To this we add some increasingly popular ethno-rockers and the 54 trained voices of the Grammy Awarded only full-time professional male choir in the world. The works of the world-renowned composer emeritus Veljo Tormis and those of Metsatoll are manipulated without prejudice by Tauno Aints, whose background is revealed by the names of his bands - Speculative Rokenroll Band and Genialisted. However, the young man also has a cum laude in the field of composition, so both sides of the music are treated equally and are fused into a whole. Metsatoll becomes grand choral music, Veljo Tormis turns into rock. Veljo Tormis music has to be regarded in much broader context than only Estonian. His works are connected to the whole intellectual heritage of Finno-Ugrian peoples including the Estonians and ethnic minorities (the Karelians, the Livonians, the Vepsians and others) in peril of disappearance as well as major nationalities like the Hungarians and the Finns. - In many cases, Tormis' choral works are much closer to symphonic scores than traditional choir music. His works may be described as suggestive symphonies for voices. Metsatoll was founded in late 1990s. The heavy metal of the early years has turned into a coarse ethnic metal, the guitar riffs are now interlaced with the sounds of bagpipes and kanteles. It has been argued that Metsatöll is the lifebelt of Estonian national self-awareness. Through the efforts of Lauri Õunapuu, who has been organising voluntary folk-singing workshops for years, Metsatöll has been actively preserving the Estonian folk singing tradition among both the elderly and the young. The musicians are: Lauri Õunapuu - guitar, vocal, estonian bagpipe, kanteles, whistles Markus Teeäär - vocal, guitar Raivo Piirsalu - bass, vocal Marko Atso - drums, vocal Special guest: Vambola Krigul - percussion Lauri plays the following traditional instruments in Metsatoll: - Seven-stringed kantele: the six-to-seven stringed kantele is one of the oldest traditional Estonian instruments. The seven-stringed kantele with bourdon strings was more prevalent in southern and southeastern Estonia. This instrument was crafted by Lauri Õunapuu in 2002. - Eleven-stringed electric kantele: crafted by Lauri Õunapuu in 2004 specifically for Metsatöll. - Folk-kantele: a type of kantele common in late 19th and early 20th century. Crafted by an unknown Võru craftsman in early 20th century. - Estonian torupill (bagpipe): a folk instrument which has been popular in Estonia for centuries, it was almost forgotten due to the appearance of accordions during the 19th century, but nowadays is again regarded with great esteem. The instrument has been crafted by the most famous of Estonian torupill-craftsmen, Ants Taul. ESTONIAN NATIONAL MALE CHOIR (Eesti Rahvusmeeskoor - RAM) is currently the only full time professional male choir in the world. The choir was established in 1944 by Estonian choral legend Gustav Ernesaks. The large works RAM has sung most often are Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 'Babi Jar' (with the Detroit, Tampere and Jerusalem symphony orchestras and the LA Philharmonic), Sibelius' Kullervo-Symphony (the Stockholm Royal SO, Minnesota SO, Tampere SO, Toulouse National SO, Hamburg City Orchestra and the LA Philharmonic), Cherubini's Requiem and Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex. Paavo Järvi, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Ellerhein Girls' Choir and Ants Soots, Estonian National Male Choir's CD 'Sibelius Cantatas' (Virgin Classics, 2003) won the Grammy 2004 award in category 'Best Choral Performance'. Conductor: Mihhail Gerts.