This week we will be listening to music from Estonia, a small country located in Northern Europe in an area known as the Baltics. It is a country that has been occupied by many different nations, the most recently(after WWII) being the Soviet Union. But it gained its independence in 1994 through the power of music. The people of this small country literally sang their way to freedom. It is a remarkable story and you may want to learn more about The Singing Revolution, but below is a short clip to give you a sense of their music tradition particularly with singing.
The next clip is a piano composition written by Lepo Sumera, an Estonian composer who lived from 1950-2000. He was the Minister of Culture during The Singing Revolution and had great influence in that remarkable part of Estonian history. He is world-renowned composer of symphonic works, chamber, choral and piano compositions.
In this piano composition listen for the repeated patterns that he then sequences to different tonal centers. Listen to the low bass notes which ground the piece. They are called pedal points. And finally listen to how he uses decrescendos to affect the repeated patterns creating with sound the visual affect that happens when you throw a stone into calm water and watch the ripples that come from the initial drop. This piece will probably “stretch” your ears a bit but keep listening to it every day and I think it will grow on you!