Forests of Estonia(Op.24) was commissioned for the Bristol Ensemble for the University of Bristol Postgraduate Composers Concert. The piece was expanded for piano quintet in November 2018 and re-worked for the
Leon Quartet and Amy Gamble The piece is comprised of four short movements. The first takes us on a journey at sunrise on the Paikestousu Suur Munamagi, the Big Egg Mountain situated in the south-eastern part of the country, bordering Latvia and Russia. The violin leads a folk-like figure and stabbing and swooning interjection from cello and piano conveys the peaks and troths of the mountain for the Estonian climber. The second movement can be played directly after the first movement at the performer's discretion. With a distinctly Russian feel, the piece is meant to paint the sombre mood of Estonia in the late 1930's during their Vaikiv Ajastu, the Era of Silence. Almost fugue like in style, the piece paints the time period in the country where Prime Minister Konstantin Pats government intended to silence all his opposition after his illegal coup and clasp on power some years before. After a brief time for reflection, we are transported to the Baltikum, a moment in history where the joint states and eventual republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia took part in a 2-million strong hand-holding show of solidarity against the Russian state before their eventual independence in 1989. With a rather dance like feel, the cello takes the lead, with each country symbolised by each instrument.The piece builds up into a traditional
Baltic dance, a Liberation, and sees each part showing off their country with great aplomb! The final movement takes us to the heartland of Estonia and a traditional lullaby to the words, 'Ja Siis ... Lumehelves' is based loosely on the words from the poem 'Snowflake' by Juhan Liiv.The piece has been scored lightly and is centred on an equilibrium between the gentle litl from the strings and the trinkling nature of the piano in it's extreme register.The piece fades to a close before a held chord takes us to the distance in contour of the forest and one more chance for reflection.