We have four winners: Ommm from France, JazzIn Sisters from Estonia, Vocal Motion 6 from Namibia and Taiga from Finland! Congratulations to all! It was an inspirational final concert, ending with another electric performance from Postyr Project (the 2011 winners).
It’s all happened so quickly – hard to believe that the ensemble event is all done and dusted in a couple of days. For the jury it was even more difficult than usual this year. The overall standard was very high and although we were pretty clear on most of the groups to make the final cut, it was very hard to decide who to eliminate and who would actually win. As always, we agonised over those that didn’t make it – all were terrific ensembles in their way and in another year might have made it – and we know only too well how much blood, sweat and tears goes into putting this kind of thing together.
Unlike Postyr Project last time, there was no single group that stood out as the obvious winner on grounds of originality, but there were many that excelled within their chosen genre. We were impressed by the large number of Finnish girl groups (men, where are you??) and also by the fact that some groups were brave enough to enter after being together for quite a short time (the members of 2Loud from Estonia are still at school). Most ensembles did their own arrangements or compositions, which was a huge and exciting change from some years ago. Sometimes the material didn’t quite do the job, but producing your own music is the biggest single factor that makes each group unique, and sometimes the arrangements were startlingly effective – such as 2Loud’s take on a Tormis Lullaby and Ommm’s hard-hitting ‘Wonderful World’, both of which were extraordinarily creative transformations of the original pieces. Put them together with Nambians singing in Chinese and you have the perfect Tampere experience.
Our deliberations went on so long that we missed the interview with Penderecki and the concert by Key, so you can see how difficult it was. Finally four groups emerged as possible winners, and most of the time was then spent arguing what order to rank them in. As last time, we didn’t set the result in stone until after the concert itself, and we were still debating during the interval.
Once again, the organisation was spot on – everyone so thoughtful and efficient. And in these dark times for arts and culture in Europe a big thankyou to Tampere City Council and the other sponsors who make such a magical event possible. We ran a bit late and I forgot to thank three key individuals in my little speech: festival director Minnakaisa Kuivalainen, producer Eija Koivusalo and our impossibly hard-working secretary Kaisa Kelloniemi. And I even practiced the pronunciation… Thanks to all three – you amazed us all as usual. Thanks once more to my fellow jury members: Anna Maria Friman, Anders Jalkeus (happy Swedish National Day guys), Jenny Wilhelms, and Jussi Chydenius. We’re getting quite good at this now.
THE DOWLAND PROJECT
Here it is, emerging from the dark, The Night Sessions cover…
It doesn’t get more ECM than that. I was hoping it would be out in time for Tampere and Spitalfields, but at least you can pre-order it on Amazon for June 24th.
SOUND & FURY
The Sound & Fury Ockeghem multiple Cuius Vis Toni is now available here. The music has arrived for our Pipelare recordings later this month. Let’s hope Vienna isn’t under water.
So now it’s off to London to do this on Tuesday:
The music for that has arrived too…
Richard Wistreich and I bang on about the state of early music in Early Music (2013) 41 (1): 22-26. You can download a pdf here.