Four Estonian Lullabies
Composed by Veljo Tormis b.1930
Arranged and reinterpreted by Mother Brother
Cover art by Lizzie Aldag
Chelce Hessler, vocals
Jamie Caporizo, flute
Adam, guitar, noises, mixing
Jack, guitar, supercollider, mixing
Matt, vocals, bass, guitar, groove box, midi, samples, noises, mixing
Set to traditional Estonian folk poems, Veljo Tormis' Four Estonian Lullabies are anything but traditional. Laulan Lapsele evokes a nostalgic sensation of childhood from the lulling ostinato in the lower voices and soft cooing of the trebles. Intermittently, the lulling is disrupted by abrasive, quick shifts to the minor 4 tonality. Above these haunting chord changes, the mother (soprano) never loses her innocence, keeping her melodic phrase tonal and major.
In Marjal Aega Magada, the harmonic motion glides between half step minor chord relationships, subtly hinting at major tonalities in the soprano and tenor voices. An ominous ostinato takes the foreground as the mother desperately tries to calm her child amidst the eerie drones beneath.
Lase Kiik Kaia, the most lullaby-esq of the four, once again focuses on the lulling rhythms reminiscent of traditional lullaby settings. The strongly comforting melody is in the alto voice assuring the child that sleep will come. The least dissonant of the four pieces, Lase provides a much needed cleanse and would actually be appropriate to sing to your child.
Aiutus represents the moment of sleep. The deep, soothing drone throughout the piece creates the foundation for the shifting harmonies and sharp articulation of the voices above. Reverting back to half step harmonic relationships, Tormis paints a picture of unrest. The swelling harmonies atop the drone disrupt the static soundscape, until they come to rest in the key of the parallel major. As the soothing voices drift into silence, the mother's soft, hypnotic voice finally lulls the child to sleep.
We have chosen to arrange these pieces, because they're crazy. The melodies are pure, simple and rather pleasing. However, the musical context with which they are in is unsettling and a direct juxtaposition of what we know to be a lullaby. We have stayed true to the form and melody only extending and varying harmonies and rhythms when we felt the music called for it.
Lullabies for the restless.