Even the most average of indie rock bands can litter the internet with glowing reviews and references (usually written by friends and family we guess, and as for all those five-star reviews on Amazon, pfah!) but we always find it surprising that talented people can exist and produce world-class music without causing so much as a ripple in cyberspace.
Such is the case with this, an enjoyable choral album, all the better for not being quite as devotional as the one above, though again it’s not happy-smiley carol singing. Grigorjeva (born 1962) is reportedly one of Estonia’s most popular composers and this CD, recorded in her honour and in her presence, is performed by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
In the sleeve notes, Grigorjeva says she is uncomfortable being called a composer of religious music as it sounds “a bit pretentious”, though she adds: “Anything that has not been given from above, does not flow from above and has no sense at all.”
Possibly because of that attitude, the music is less overtly religious than the Cor Cantiamo Psallite CD but has more of a folk/roots feel to it, blending sacred music with music from outside the Church. It’s still fairly reverential, though.
The programme starts off relatively traditional for choral church music but gets more modern (even avant garde) as it progresses, and the sleeve notes stress that she evokes not only Christianity but more pagan beliefs. Another way of putting it is that the music starts off being familiar to western ears but towards the end dives deeply into a more eastern European/Russian sound.
There are pieces for vocals and string quartet, mixed choir and male choir.
The music sounds as if she pays utmost attention to detail but it also flows well, too, and there’s a lot of silence, which can work effectively if used properly.
Out on Ondine (ODE 1245-2).