Tõnu Kõrvits

Hymns to the Nordic Lights

Orchestral Works

Digital release in January, CD available in February

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Risto Joost, conductor
Meelis Vind, bass clarinet



Sleeve notes in English


January 2020

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1349-2


Track listing

CD 57:39
Tõnu Kõrvits
1 Azure (2016/2017) for strings 2:46
Hymns to the Nordic Lights (2011) 13:11
2 I 2:28
3 II 2:48
4 III 1:35
5 IV 1:00
6 V 5:20
Silent Songs (2015) for bass clarinet and orchestra 14:58
7 I Flower 5:14
8 II Sacred River 3:45
9 III Farewell Farewell 5:59
10 Leaving Capri (2018) for strings 4:35
11 Tears Fantasy (2011) 7:37
Elegies of Thule (2007) for strings 13:56
12 I The Night is Darkening 4:49
13 II Kellä' (Bells) 3:44
14 III Look Up to the Hill 5:23

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Complete description

Tõnu Kõrvits (b. 1969) is together with Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür among the most interesting Estonian composers of our time. This album by the Estonian NSO and Risto Joost consists of orchestral works written between a period of ten years, from 2007 to 2018. These works have been inspired by a variety of themes and are rich with delicate atmosphere possessing a particularly Northern feel combined with a romantic and Impressionistic touch.


Azure and Leaving Capri are the most recent pieces of this album. First of the pieces is a transcription of a work which was originally written for the male choir. Leaving Capri is a homage to Estonian painter Konrad Mägi who is well-known for his colorful and sunny paintings of Italy’s lanscape.


Orchestral work Hymns to the Nordic Lights (2011) was premiered by Britten Sinfonia conducted by James MacMillan. This 5-movement suite evokes the magic of the Northern landscape with Nordic Lights. Silent Songs (2015) is a work of three pieces for bass-clarinet and orchestra where the soloist’s part is improvisatory, lyrical and meditative. Tears Fantasy (2011) is an orchestral fantasy dedicated to conductor Risto Joost and inspired by the work of English Renaissance composer John Dowland. Elegies of Thule (2007) is the earliest piece of the album, a suite for strings which is based on different folk tunes from Estonia. The result is a fascination combination of romanticism influenced by folk elements.  


The Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (ENSO) is the longest continually operating professional orchestra of its kind in the country. The orchestra’s history dates back to 1926 and, like that of many other world orchestras, is connected to the birth of national broadcasting. The orchestra performs with renowned conductors and soloists from around the world, including Estonian musicians of the highest calibre. Its recordings demonstrate a quality recognized by many prestigious music magazines, having won several prizes, including a GRAMMY ® Award. In addition, ENSO has regularly given concerts in European and Scandinavian countries, appearing at many prestigious festivals including Köln, New York, Verona, Genoa, Munich, and Stockholm. With a repertoire ranging from the Baroque period to the present, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra has also given premiere performances of symphonic works by several Estonian composers, including Arvo Pärt, Erkki-Sven Tüür, Eduard Tubin, Eino Tamberg, Jaan Rääts, Lepo Sumera, Tõnu Kõrvits and Helena Tulve.


The young Estonian conductor Risto Joost excels by his specialized versatility and has gained widespread recognition for his work both in the opera pit and on concert stage. The trained singer and Conductor-in-Residence of the Estonian National Opera has already held major artistic positions, such as Chief Conductor of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir from 2015 to 2019. For his artistic activities in Estonia and abroad, Risto Joost received the music award of the Cultural Foundation in Estonia in 2016 and was awarded the Young Cultural Figure Award of the Estonian Republic in 2011. He was Prizewinner of the Malko Conducting Competition in 2015 and Jorma Panula Conducting Competition in 2012.