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Tom Huizenga
National Public Radio, December 2017

NPR Music’s Top 10 Classical Albums of 2017: #3 / NPR Music’s 50 Best Albums of 2017: #33

In this stunning album, a rising star among Estonian composers, Tõnu Kõrvits, transforms the poetry of English novelist Emily Brontë into cinematically vivid postcards for choir and strings from the windswept moors of the 19th century. Like her novel Wuthering Heights, these nine poems are haunted by restless moonlit nights, lost lovers and coiled emotions. Kõrvits’ musical palette is uncommonly wide, pushing the Grammy-winning Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir into luminous murmurs, swooping cries and swirling colors. His nuanced treatment of Tallinn Chamber Orchestra strings amounts to creating an entirely separate dramatic character. And at times it’s hard to tell the string choirs from the real choristers. Anyone who thinks choral music is a fusty relic of the church needs to hear this album. © 2017 National Public Radio

Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, December 2017

Elegance, beauty, inner strength and clarity of purpose combine to create a quiet masterpiece in Tõnu Kõrvits’s response to the words of Emily Brontë. “…an artistic bridge that brings her words into our own time with a moving grace and ease that should spark the poet in all of us.” © 2017 MusicWeb International

Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, November 2017

Tonu Korvits is an Estonian who writes neoromantic music with that “frozen winter night” sound that modern Baltic composers are so good at. Moorland Elegies, for choir and string orchestra, sets nine Emily Bronte poems (in English) about love and the changing seasons. Korvits paints with broad, swirling strokes—some passages are nearly turbulent. He seems more interested in textures and effects than substance, though; nothing I hear makes me think that any of the words require this particular music. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, September 2017

The recorded sound is spacious and reverberant, which feels appropriate for the music. Although one has no point of comparison, the performances feel ideal. This is a very, very beautiful disc. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2017

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under Risto Joost give to the score all the potentially moody ambience that is inherent in its beautiful tone painting contents. It has some similarities with the ambiances of fellow Estonian Arvo Part. It partakes even more in a haunting after-modern impressionism so that it readily serves as a contemporary model of what can be done.

There is singularity of purpose and rare totality of tonal imagery to be heard on this recording. To listen is to enter a world where we matter by disconnecting from the world outside of the desolate moor-scape and immersing ourselves fully in its facticity.

Nothing quite has this titanically fragile moodiness. It is a world that is post-pastoral, way beyond the nostalgia for a lost world, but rather a lost-in-the-world solitude. All is what it is, and that is regretful in its beauty. There is more I could say. The main thing is how the music stuns by an uncanny analogic juxtiposition of subject-text and tonal refractory magic.

Wow. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, June 2017

Filled with transcendent music in performances of sublime subtlety, this is the kind of bittersweet dose of beauty we all need to dive into from time to time.

This is both a deep pleasure and a call for all of us to reflect on our own lives and how they do or do not move to the rhythms of nature, and to what extent we are sensitive to our own emotions and impressions of where and what we are. Moorland Elegies has by no means an existential, “overly psychologised” message, but if it leaves you cold then you have to ask yourself what demands you are making from your experience of music. Tõnu Kõrvits’s response to Emily Brontë is an artistic bridge that brings her words into our own time with a moving grace and ease that should spark the poet in all of us. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Review Corner, May 2017

The music is created by choir and strings, weaving in and out of each other. It’s mostly abstract and repetitive; there is little in the way of tune. Some of the bolder sections sound like the kind of music you might hear in a Dan Brown movie, where he wants to suggest medieval awe in a church setting. But the music looks inwards and not upwards; it’s more contemplation than devotion. On the other hand, it’s not claustrophobic, and not disturbing or threatening, a Turner watercolour rather than the detailed imagery of Bosch. © 2017 Review Corner Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2017

Having lived most of my life looking out across the bleak Yorkshire Moors that inspired Emily Brontë’s poems, Moorland Elegies, this new work is very pertinent. The words are also deeply moving to one in the autumn of his life, and having shared those years with his one and only love. Maybe the Estonian composer, Tonu Korvits, could not picture that part of the world where you comment ‘there’s no wind today’, for those are rare days, and you live simply enjoying the wind in its many formats. Yet I have much enjoyed his very beautiful score, the harmonic language having its roots in the tonality era of the early 20th century, and with more than a hint of British pastoral school of composition. I also enjoy his searching for the inner meaning of words that he expresses in an orchestra that is entirely made up of strings. The result is a very extended work of nine poems lasting just over fifty-four minutes. Of course he has one of the world’s very best choral groups, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, who provide a myriad of colours, its unexaggerated soprano voices being a welcome relief from the British groups who are today ruining choral singing. From their ranks comes the alto soloist, Marianne Parna, in the sadness of Moonlight, Summer Moonlight, and the sweet-toned soprano, Jaanika Kilgi, in the final poem, Month After Month. Equally perfect is the playing of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under its young Chief Conductor, Risto Joost. In every way the recording team has achieved a disc that I hope will receive a top award. It certainly deserves it. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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