- Lugums naktij (Prayer to the night), for chorus
- Fata Morgana, for chorus
- In memoriam, for chorus
- The night is darkening round me, for male or mixed chorus
- Kreegi vihik (Kreek's Notebook), for chorus & chamber orchestra
The rather novelistic title Kreek's Notebook refers to one Cyrillus Kreek, an Estonian counterpart to Bartók and Kodály who collected and arranged folk tunes, especially the unusual local genre of folk hymns. These were local chorale-like melodies for Protestant services, somewhat akin to American folk hymns. Kreek's arrangements remain popular among Estonian choirs, and it's not surprising that the centerpiece of this release is a collection of pieces based on his notebook, by contemporary composer Tönu Körvits. This is an unusually successful work of its type, for the folk material is used in a great variety of ways and expresses the sacred texts in unusually direct and powerful ways. Sometimes it is close to Ives, sometimes to Copland, sometimes to Britten, sometimes to Arvo Pärt, sometimes to structures where a folk tune at the beginning furnishes a discrete set of pitches, and sometimes to nothing else at all, with unexpected influences from American blues and rock. The work touches off a series of works influenced by folk music or by hymnody, nothing quite on the level of Körvits' piece (the companion English-language setting of Emily Bronte's The Night Is Darkening Round Me is also a work choirs should get to know), but there are several finds. Listen to Latvian composer Arturs Maskats' "Lacrimosa," a work written to commemorate an Estonian ferry disaster in which nearly 1,000 people died. Passionate and despairing, but settling into a profound peace at the end, it seems much more equal to its subject than most such contemporary works. Some listeners may wish to hear one of the shiver-inducing Baltic choirs in this repertory, but really the work of the Choir of Royal Holloway and Britten Sinfonia under Rupert Gough, who also wrote the very informative booklet notes, is unimpeachable, and they're backed by excellent church engineering (from All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London) from Hyperion. This is a superb recording of repertory that's all but unknown outside the Baltic countries but is likely to be unknown no more.