Review from Carme Miró sonograma.org of Hallik’s new album Born in Waves

Estonian composer Elis Hallik’s debut on the Kairos label has an early justification in the recording of Born in Waves.

In this sense, the composer comments: “I like to think that the structure can also work as an autonomous energy system, a multidirectional sense of time. Time and ambivalence are the different aspects of the same sound object; All of this has always fascinated songwriters, myself included.”

Hallik, trained in Estonia and France, uses spectral music and electronics. It is in the work Doch manchmal erhellt sich die Seele, wenn sie frohe Menschendenkt, dunkelgoldene Frühlingstage (‘But sometimes the soul lights up when it thinks of happy people, golden and dark spring days’) that the composer performs live at the head of the electronics, accompanying the prodigious voice of soprano Sirje Aleksandra Viise with the temperate flute counterparts of Monika Mattiesen. The album mainly includes chamber compositions depicting fairly important ideas from his work over the past decade.

The fusion of pure and distorted sound through extended techniques can be found in Stoicheia (“Elements”), a concerto for two violins and string orchestra performed by the fascinating Triin Ruubel, accompanied by the colourful sonic texture of the Tallinna Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Atvars Lakstīgala.

Dark timbres and powerful glissandi make up the work Some Paths Will Always Lead Through the Shadows, a piece inspired by the poems of Doris Kareva. Hallik has the meticulous mastery of combining the lyricism of poetry with that of melody.

The Ensemble Fractales, based in Brussels, performs To Become a Tree, a work of great emotional force. The program note provides the listener with essential, key words such as the wood wide web, tree, and speech (from Peter Wohlleben’s influential book The Hidden Life of Trees), which aptly characterize the musical composition of instrumental parts and the transition of information from an instrument to a tree, a forest.

Also of emotional impact is the work Born in Waves —which gives the album its name—, performed in detail and sensitivity by the Ensemble Musikfabrik: “It is a reunion with the sea, around which I was born”, says the author.

It is these approaches that, above all, explain some of the fundamental characteristics of the author’s compositional work.

Text: Carme Miró

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