From the depths of a Nordic forest
Located in the heart of a tranquil forest 35 km to the west of the Estonian capital Tallinn, the Arvo Pärt Centre is one of Estonia’s most important cultural destinations and a gathering place for musicians who treasure its distinctly calm and contemplative ambience. Given its reputation, it was an obvious choice for Orchestral Tools to explore when they decided to continue their musical relationship with the city of Tallinn. Their ‘Tallinn’ collection from 2020 explored choir and strings recorded in a church. For Salu, the plan was to create a collection focused on capturing the softest, most delicate, and most expressive sounds and textures. “With Salu, we wanted to take an inward journey, and capture these sounds at very close range to bring out the emotion of these performances.” said Orchestral Tools CEO Hendrik Schwarzer. “Every note is informed by the unique atmosphere of the Arvo Pärt Centre—and we couldn’t have assembled this exceptional group of performers anywhere else.” Notably, the performers themselves were included in the conceptual work for this collection, and their ideas have played a major role in shaping the sound of Salu.
The collection offers male and female voices from Grammy Award-winning Estonian vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis. Vox Clamantis, founded and led by Jaan-Eik Tulve, have a unique sound that has its roots in early music and Gregorian chant. Numerous contemporary Estonian composers, including Arvo Pärt, have written music specifically for Vox Clamantis. The sounds on offer include both standard and experimental articulations.
Salu also includes an ensemble of Estonian kannel, harps, and prepared upright piano. The kannel is a traditional Estonian plucked string instrument that has never been professionally sampled before, played here by virtuoso Anna-Liisa Eller. The harps were played by Liis Jürgens, and the piano by Norwegian composer and pianist Vetle Nærø—an artist whose own focus on soft, intimate sounds made him the perfect choice for this collection. The plucked strings are available as an ensemble patch and also individually.
The collection also includes Estonian string quartet M4GNET playing standard and experimental articulations, and a range of experimental percussion played by Vambola Krigul. Furthermore, the voices and instrumental recordings are complemented by a wide range of processed patches, created using the material from the recording sessions. These sounds offer various musical colors and textures, and most offer dynamic control via the modwheel. Ideal for underscoring, all the processed patches explore the subtle, intimate, and evocative, in keeping with the wider sonic aesthetic of the collection.
All sounds were recorded with multiple mic options with emphasis on close miking techniques, allowing composers to dial in the exact ambience of the sound they want without losing any of the dynamics of the performance. The result is a collection that can evoke calm contemplation, eerie silence, or anything in between. “This collection is a delicate combination of a clear aesthetic vision, exceptional performers, and an absolutely unique recording space: The Arvo Pärt Centre,” said Schwarzer. “We hope that Salu will inspire composers to explore their own inward musical journeys.”
For more information, please visit: http://www.orchestraltools.com/