I am writing this article as newly elected President of the Estonian Arts Center in Canada.
After many years of being absent from life and activities in Toronto, I am glad for this opportunity to become more actively involved in the Estonian community.
Our vision for the EAC is to promote Estonian Arts, first to our own community and then to the wider, non-Estonian community at large. Arts, especially the music arts, have been so crucial to our small Nation’s survival. Through the dark years of communism it helped to keep the needs of our people in the forefront and ultimately put a spotlight on us at a very crucial moment in our history.
Although times have changed, the need to remind the world of our small country and our rich artistic and musical heritage is as urgent now as it was years ago, particularly as “the Bear” is once again rustling the bushes. This is why I am organizing our first event with the EAC:
On April 26, 2015 1:30 at Agricola Lutheran Church we will have our first large event: a chamber orchestra concert “Mälestuskilde Muusikas”, a concert primarily celebrating Lembit Avesson’s 90th birthday. Many of the works presented will be a world premiere performance and others will be North-American premieres. The concert will open with Avesson’s Symphony in G - one of his later compositions never performed. It is in a modern musical language with hints of traditional western harmonies. The Symphony is in three movements: it begins with a very traditional slow introduction and then transitions into a fast allegro theme. There are sections which remind us of Prokofiev’s music with its sarcastic and defiant overtones. The second movement combines the two traditional symphonic movements – a slow melodious movement and a dancelike scherzo movement. The last rhythmic movement finishes the piece with a victorious tonality. Perhaps what is most interesting about this piece is the instrumentation: string orchestra, two flutes, two horns and a piano. To a listener, it may sound at times more like a piano concerto than a symphony.
The second large work by Avesson on this program is his Psalm of Praise for Chorus, Strings and organ. This is a very beautiful and uplifting piece written for a church setting in praise of Almighty God. Toronto’s well known choral group “Cantabile Chamber Singers” will join us on stage. In addition you will hear two solo songs, performed by our revered baritone Avo Kittask, and two pieces for solo piano, presented by our beloved Asta Ballstadt.
In the second half of the concert we will play a rare piece for strings by Roman Toi: “Rahvasuust” and two pieces by Kaljo Raid- Divertimento and Concertino for Bassoon, Oboe, Drum and Strings. World-renown bassoonist Martin Kuuskmann will be one of the guest soloists playing the solo in Concertino and, under the cover of secrecy I can tell you that he will play a movement from Mozarts’ Bassoon concerto as well. You do not want to miss it!
All of the above named Estonian composers lived and worked among us for very many years, giving their lives and talents to serve the “Estonian cause”. It is most fitting to celebrate their lives and enjoy the beauty of the music given to us through their efforts.
This project is not only production of a concert but we are also planning to record a CD so that an audio version of the music is archived and available to future generations. The music one can readily hear gives value to music written on paper and stored in boxes. This recording will be the second in a series “Estonian Composers in North America”.
I am also asking for your assistance: as you can imagine, a project such as this is quite an expensive undertaking, requiring community support. To date we have $10,000 towards expenses, with a shortfall of $5,000.00. If you see the merit in celebrating and preserving the life work of the artists in our community, feel you can help us and would like to be a part of this meaningful event, we would be very thankful. Donations are tax deductible, please forward to: Toronto Eesti Maja, 958 Broadview Ave., Toronto, ON M4K 2R6 c/o Eesti Kunstide Keskus,
Viljar P. Weimann
Dear Friends in Estonian Community, Estonian Life