Known for over thirty years in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the music of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (born 1930) was not heard in the West until the 1990s. Tormis has written more than 200 choral works, an opera, a ballet/cantata, thirty film scores,vocal and instrumental chamber music, solo songs, and several orchestral pieces. Educated at the Tallinn and Moscow Conservatories, Tormis has integrated the techniques of 20th-century art music with the melodies of the regilaul or ancient Estonian folksong.
Ancient Song Recovered: The Life and Music of Veljo Tormis is the first book in a Western language about a master of 20th-century choral music. The book includes chapters on Estonian history (Tormis's music helped inspire the national independence movement), the regilaul, and the Estonian choral tradition, followed by the biography and discussion of major works. Also included is an article by a leading Estonian scholar as well as an article by and an interview with Tormis, all of which appear for the first time in English. A works list, CD discography, glossary of names, and CD of sound examples conclude this volume by musicologist and choral conductor Mimi S. Daitz. It will interest scholars of contemporary music, the general music public, and persons concerned with Soviet cultural history.