For the choir’s return to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on Thursday, November 13, its program is split between works by Pärt and works by his younger countryman Erkki-Sven Tüür. Led by Tönu Kaljuste and accompanied by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Estonian choir will perform Tüür’s Passion and Requiem in the first half and Pärt’s Orient Occident for strings and Te Deum in the second half.
Kaljuste founded the choir in 1981 and served as its leader for twenty years; he still directs it frequently both on tour and at home. Known for its flawless intonation, faultless pronunciation, poised balances, cool sonorities, and smooth, round tone, the choir has had eight of its recordings nominated for Grammy awards—an amazing achievement for a group specializing in contemporary sacred music. But then, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is no ordinary group specializing in contemporary sacred music: it’s Estonian.
[Originally published in November, 2008.]