Sunday, 22 January 2017

Legendary Estonian composer Veljo Tormis has died aged 86

Estonia lost a class act today. Veljo Tormis was an Estonian composer who was deeply in tune with his country’s vital tradition of choral singing and ancient folk culture. He was born in Kuusalu in 1930 and studied in the Tallinn and later Moscow Conservatories before going into teaching. (Arvo Pärt was among his students). During his career Veljo Tormis produced over 500 individual choral songs. Tormis was internationally regarded as one of the greatest choral music writers, and one of the most important composers of the 20th century in Estonia.

Many of Tormis’ works are written for choirs and based on an ancient form of Estonian folk song called regilaul. He once said: “National music can also convey religious feelings; it often represents pre-Christian forms of spirituality, which should also be important and meaningful in our integrating world. Old Estonian runo songs certainly communicate the nature worship and rituals of prehistoric times.”

'Forgotten Peoples' is one of his most famous works.

For those unfamiliar with the work Veljo Tormis, here is some additional background information. Veljo Tormis - Biography