To follow his highly successful discs with the Latvian Radio Choir, Gavin Bryars moves on to a recording with the Estonian National Male Choir, the largest professional men's choir in the world - and a choir with a unique status in the Baltic. He collaborates again with the great Latvian conductor Kaspars Putnins, one of the finest choral conductors of our time, with whom he made his two Latvian recordings. Bryars had worked in concert with the choir in 2006 and came back in January 2008 for more concerts and this recording.
Half of the works on this CD were given their first performances at this time - two of the three a capella settings of sonnets by the great Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, including the title work Silva Caledonia as well as a work for choir, solo baritone, solo double-bass and strings, Ian in the Broch, setting words by the Scottish poet George Bruce. The double-bass part for this piece was composed specially for the stunning young Texan bass virtuoso Daniel Nix, who also performs Bryars' double bass concerto. This extraordinary concerto, premiered in 2002 by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, also includes a chorus of Russian bass voices - 24 of them on this recording.
Just as he included Latvian composers on his recordings with the Latvian Radio Choir, Gavin Bryars includes here "O Oriens", a work by the remarkable Estonian composer Toivo Tulev, whose work takes further the line of devotional music associated with his countryman Arvo Pärt.
Estonian National Male Choir, Daniel Nix (double-bass), Mareks Lobe (baritone), Baiba Berke (mezzo-soprano), Kaspars Putnins (conductor)
1. Double Bass Concerto
3. Silva Caledonia
4. O Oriens
5. The Summons
6. Ian In the Broch