John Taverner (c 1495-1545) was the leading English composer of his generation, and one of the most influential of English composers. He was born in Lincolnshire, served in a prestigious post at the short-lived Cardinal College at Oxford, and ended his life back in the Lincolnshire town of Boston. Much of Taverner’s music was apparently composed early in his life, before the effects of the Reformation could be fully felt in England and before continental compositional practice would have its full influence. He is best known for his large-scale sacred choral music: several masses, votive antiphons, and Magnificats.
Very little is known of Walter Frye (d.1474) except that he was presumably an English composer working on the Continent in the middle decades of the 15th century. A few of his compositions were quite famous, especially the motet Ave regina. The Mass cycle Flos Regalis is one of three by Frye, all surviving together in a Burgundian manuscript possibly copied as a wedding gift for an English royal bride.
Due to its deep comprehensiveness and boldly distinguished sound, the music of Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585) belongs to one of the favourites of the Heinavanker ensemble. Most fascinating unity of text and music, its expressive tonality sequences and charming unexpectedness of harmony, derived by linear way of thinking, make this music especially admirable. Thomas Tallis is a court musicican and composer who has been in service of four sovereigns and whose life and creative activity fell into the period of fierce struggle between Catholicism, Reformation and Counter-Reformation. He erected his cathedral of music on the burnt to ashes land of abbeys and stakes…
The program includes songs of orthodox church services collected and arranged by Cyrillus Kreek.
Cyrillus Kreek (21 November 1889 – 26 March 1962) was an Estonian composer. He studied trombone and composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory from 1908 to 1916, then worked as music teacher first in his native Haapasalu in western Estonia, at the Tartu Music College and later at the Tallinn Conservatory.
Kreek started collecting religious folksongs in 1911 in the Haapsalu region. He systematically collected the folk music of his native country, and many of his folk melody arrangements have since become part of the permanent repertoire of Estonian choral societies. He was the first Estonian collector to use the phonograph for this purpose and the harmonisations he made became a lifelong preoccupation. His beautiful psalm settings have an unmistakable folk tinge, and yet they are much more than simple folksong arrangements, with their carefully graded choral colouring and passing use of imitation.
In 1938–1942 Cyrillus Kreek assembled, systematized and adapted for the Estonian the treasury of orthodox songs. The densely concentrated material contains 351 pages of numerous variants of evening and morning service songs and liturgy. It includes the music from ancient Greek and Kiev tunes to the works of Tchaikovsky and great composers of Russian orthodox as well as compositions and arrangements by Cyrillus Kreek himself. The concert series ''Cyrillus Kreek and Orthodox'', introducing his assembly of orthodox songs, is an attempt to create the picture of the sound world of Estonian orthodox church at the start of the 20thcentury. In the first concert programme Heinavanker performed for the first time a choice of evening songs from the Kreek's collection. The second concert of ''Cyrillus Kreek and Orthodox'' is the premiere of the next two chapters of his voluminous assembly – morning service and liturgy. The ensemble Heinavanker will be joined by a priest Sakarias Leppik.
Estonian runic songs, Hildegard of Bingen
and Gregorian chant
It’s quite singular option. Until 13th century Estonia was a sort of independent country (but it was just a territory and the name „Estonia“ was not used; we can’t talk about state or kingdom). One quite unique music style the ancient people sang was runic song. This vocal tradition possibly dates back many thousands of years and it was still viable in medieval times. In the course of time some runic songs became mixed with Christian message and in our program the original holiness is blended with Christian texts.
The Estonian folk hymns or popular chorals originated as a product of the religious renewal of the rural population. Most of the texts are from the Lutheran Hymnal. However, the melodies are developed till nearly unrecognisable and are often ingeniously adorned. The half improvised arrangements of these songs resonate as an accomplishment of the whole ensemble.
The corner stone of Johannes Ockeghem's inspiring and difficult to define music is an extraordinary balance between hidden mathematical constructions and the apparently spontaneous melody lines which they help construct, but which nevertheless remain unexpected. Ockeghem is a composer who brings to completion the musical thoughts of an epoch, leading to a counterbalancing by the following generation who preferred more transparent paths. For singers of todays discernment, Ockeghems works make such unusual demands that their performance is considered a test of courage. The maestro himself ultimately worked with the same singers for forty years” the experts sigh, as they lay the scores back in the drawer.
Margo Kõlar (b. 1961) has studied composition with prof. Eino Tamberg, attaining a PhD in 2006. His musical vocation involves composition, conducting, teaching and sound recording.
His oeuvre includes chamber music, symphonic music and sacred music; film and theatre, works for the stage or for city space, incidental music and sound installation. Kõlar’s music has been described as poetic and scenic: fairy-tales, legends, spiritual imagery. Bright tonal and modal harmony, rainbow of sound colours, warm humour ( EMIC). Since 1996, Margo Kõlar is the artistic director of the vocal ensemble Heinavanker.
As a recording engineer Margo Kõlar contributed with the labels ECM Records, Harmonia Mundi and Naxos. He received the Grammy sertificate for participating in the recording of Grammy Award winning CD „Pärt: Adam’s Lament” in 2014.