Photo: Elis Jaansoo
Friday, 30 April 2021 19:00
Estonian Life No. 17 2021 - Vincent Teetsov
Over the past four months, to viewers all over the world, Estonian Music Week has presented a wide range of musicians who exemplify what “home” means. Through music, they've shared their personal interpretations of what it is to be at home. Home might be in Toronto, Võrumaa, Latvia, or several places all at once if you move around a lot. With home being a rather complex idea, it's our hope that maybe this music has given new insight into diaspora culture and experiences in a way that words alone can't.
It's also our hope that the snippets you read in Estonian Life
and stories you hear through live interviews with the musicians have been a foundation for discovering new music and getting to know the people behind the music you enjoy listening to.
Yet, to conclude the “Memories of Home” series, EMW is hosting a night with a musician who will be familiar to many readers in Toronto. On Thursday May 13th at 8:00 PM (EDT), we've invited back Erik Kreem, Toronto's celebrated young Estonian-Canadian pianist.
The last time we got to see Kreem play within the context of Estonian Music Week was at the afterparty following the festival's night at Koerner Hall in 2018. And though I've written about him before, we've not heard much from him personally. Seeing as there is a long, fruitful career ahead of him, it's an important thing to record his ideas as a young musician here and now.
So in addition to the concert, you'll learn more about him as I ask about his musical beginnings, his home life growing up, and formative musical experiences. He is articulate in how he explains the themes that excite him most and the differences in composing for different instruments. Furthermore, he explains his unique approach to improvisation for classical music.
Last November, he and his fellow students at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music shared several bold compositions with online audiences, for their first concert of the academic year. Erik Kreem's piece was an original titled “Passages”, where clarinet and cello engaged the idea of change and loss. While he continues to create scene-setting, impressionistic compositions, this time around, he will be playing piano. This lends itself to music that is more romantic and fluid in its delivery.
On the night of the 13th, Kreem will play Heino Eller's Tokaata h-moll
(Toccata in B minor). This composition emphasizes the gracefulness and technique of a pianist's hands in creating dynamics on the piano. You can expect large dynamic fluctuations and texture created by sophisticated rhythms. It's a well chosen piece to play along with the style of his own compositions.
Kreem will play the six pieces of his Childhood Suite, which in my mind brings out the feeling of a dream; like a child flying out from their bedroom window, powered by magic and wonder. Finally, Kreem will share some improvisations to bring the evening to a close.
We hope you'll be there to watch the final installment of the “Memories of Home” series, brought to you by concert partner Heinsoo Insurance and series partner Northern Birch Credit Union. To watch the concert, head over to Estonian Music Week's Facebook page or the VEMU YouTube channel. Make sure you're on the festival newsletter, too, to receive news and updates on future EMW shows.
Written by Vincent Teetsov