Toivo Tulev (b. 1958) is inclined to musically conjoin the
expressionistic and the religious. His compositions represent a constant expressionistic struggle between tension and equilibrium. Communicating a religious and existentialist worldview, Tulev advances the tradition of the Estonian classics Tobias and Pärt.
Following his graduation from the Tallinn Conservatory in composition (under Eino Tamberg) in 1980, Toivo Tulev continued his training with Sven-David Sandström at the Stockholm Higher Music School (1991) and attended a course in electro-acoustic music at the Higher Music School in Cologne (1996).
Tulev’s compositional style has been considerably shaped by his active
participation in the performing of pre-Baroque music – first and foremost asthe artistic director and founder of the ensemble Scandicus (since 1995), and as a member of several other early-music consorts.
Tulev’s compositions – written prevalently for orchestra or for various ensemble line-ups – have been always remarkable for their peculiar, mesmerising atmosphere created by temporal, spatial and sound effects.
The expressive use of timbre already prevailed in Tulev’s earlier works for symphony orchestra, such as Signum /Märk (1990), and Woo (1995). In 1999’s Idavaksal / Gare de l’Est for chamber ensemble, the composer employed spectral sounds.
Opus 21, written in 1994 for chamber orchestra, was elected among the best ten compositions at the 1996 Composers’ Rostrum in Paris. As of late, Tulev’s works have been performed also in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe, and at Tokyo’s new music festival dedicated to Toru Takemitsu, Composium 1998.
In some of Tulev’s recent compositions (2000’s piano works Uji and Sild
/ The Bridge; 2001’s Violin Concerto) the expressionistic tension has
given way to brighter, more distilled combinations of sound.
The ballet Cruz, completed in 2002 and premiered the same year at the Estonian Music Days, was inspired by the Spanish mystic Juan de la Cruz’s poetry. In the ballet, once again Tulev’s expressionistic use of sound was interlaced with exotic-hued melody lines.
Opus 21 (Chamber Orchestra), 1995, 12'00
Streichquartett (String Quartett), 12'00
Konzert für Violine und Orchester /Violin
More Works (Selection):
Hommage to the setting Sun (Chamber Ensemble)
Quella Sera (Chamber Orchestra)
Tunc venit (Soprano & Chamber Orchestra)
Sin otra luz (Soprano & Chamber Orchestra)
Gare de l’Est (Chamber Ensemble)
He Rejoices in this World and He Rejoices in the Next World (Cello & Percussion)
Neither This nor the Further Shore (String Quartett)
El silbo (Mezzosoprano, clarinet, bassclarinet, tuba and percussion (Text: Juan de la Cruz, Spain 16th century)
Q (Chamber Orchestra)
Du, ewig du
AMID (Vionlin, Vibraphone & Guitar)
Siis oled vaikusen mu ligi üksi Sina (Vocal Ensemble)
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