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Fono Forum, Stern des Monats

Tüür’s compositions have a wild, inventive edge, bringing together two utterly opposed styles – minimalism and modernism – and blending them or building dramatic tensions between them in a way so natural that it has to be heard to be believed. Isabelle van Keulen tackles the virtuosic Violin Concerto with an awe-inspiring combination of grit and fragility. In the first movement, the image she conjures at times is that of a wild bird trying to escape the thick forest of orchestral undertow; at others, she’s caught up in the swelling orchestral tread. She coaxes ever-increasing beauty from the slowly building slow movement, the climax dynamic yet with a brittle edge and her edgy, taut control of the final movement had me longing for more. The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Järvi is warm, muscular and responsive, giving full rein to Tüür’s imaginative pull and flow. The recording quality is fresh and spacious throughout. The orchestral works are equally compelling: the witty and expressive “Aditus” and the dramatic “Exodus”.
Catherine Nelson, The Strad

For some years now Erkki-Sven Tüür has been routinely described as the leading Estonian composer. With this disc he not only justifies that label but lays claim to wider recognition. Composed in 1998, his 35-minute three-movement Violin Concerto launches straight in with manic arpeggiati from the soloist that would not be out of place in a concerto by Ligeti - except that the gestures are more for the sake of expressive immediacy than for virtuoso game-playing. ... If anything the strongest affinity I detect is with Per Nørgård; not just because of the spiralling patterns, the occasional microtones and the metaphors of light and dark that Tüür's textures bring to mind, but because like the Dane he has become progressively more interested in the in-between processes of his music, rather than in its individual ideas. That makes for challenging listening; but when the sense of continuity and purpose is so strong, the rewards are great. This is music that is exhilaratingly open to experience, without ever lapsing into silliness or cheap thrills.Enormous responsibility is placed on the soloist, and Isabelle van Keulen shoulders it superbly. Both here and in the two equally recent orchestral studies (of which "Exodus" brings strong reminders of Tüür's early activities as a rock musician) Paavo Järvi has the CBSO playing as though the music has always been in their blood. The recording captures the full range of Tüür's orchestral colours, and the booklet includes an illuminating interview with the composer as well as helpful descriptive notes.
David Fanning, Gramophone

Die Musik beginnt explosionsartig mit einem disharmonisch gesetzten Orchesterschlag, um dann unmittelbar in eine 64stel Bewegung der Geige umzuschlagen. Diese nervös aufscheinenden, sich blitzartig abwechselnden musikalischen Temperamente, dieses Wechselspiel von fließender Bewegung und vertikal gesetzter Statik ist bestimmend für Erkki-Sven Tüürs Musik. Tatsächlich haben wir es hier mit einer atemraubenden Produktion zu tun: Nicht nur die Faktur der Kompositionen überzeugt, auch die kompromisslose Interpretation von Paavo Järvi und dem Birmingham Symphony Orchestra stimmt glücklich - vom solistischen Einsatz von Isabelle von Keulen einmal ganz zu schweigen. Tüür ist ein kluger Dramatiker; seine Musik berührt, ganz ohne die baltisch-skandinavischen Klischees großer Gefühligkeit zu bemühen.
Tilman Urbach, Fono Forum

Erkki-Sven Tüürs Violinkonzert ist ein Stück wunderschöner Musik mit vollem Programm: Die gehetzten Arpeggien, der innige Gesang der formidablen Solistin Isabelle van Keulen paaren sich mit ganz großen orchestralen Steigerungen und Entladungen, Unisono-Streichern, dicken Blechbläserakkorden, auch stillen introvertierten Klangfeldern, worin altes Melos umgarnt wird. Tüür realisiert eine widerspenstige formale Dramaturgie, der auf seltsame Weise nichts Schroffes anhaftet, weil Kontrastwirkungen stets organisch vermittelt erscheinen – was mit dem City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra unter Paavo Järvi zu eindrucksvoller Wirkung gelangt.
Michael Kunkel, Basler Zeitung

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