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An even more arcane offering, also from an Estonian group, comes in the form of Tallinn Baroque's Music in Tallinn Under Swedish Rule. It would be nice to tell you a little about this subject but I confess I know nothing, which is precisely what the flimsy insert which accompanies the CD offers. All you get are two photographs, one of a coat of arms and the other of the performers dressed, none too comfortably, in contemporary gear, the men's wigs making them look like King Charles spaniels. There's not even a matrix number, should you want to get hold of it!

Carmina Sanctorum - Music from the Middle Ages in Praise of Saints. © 1999 Tallinn Baroque

As for the music -- well, it's really rather forgettable, despite a few familiar names: Corelli; Biber; Telemann; Rosenmüller. The latter is probably best represented, by an attractive Sonata in E minor [listen -- track 5, 0:00-1:10], and the pared-down forces of violin and baroque cello give one of the more compelling performances on the CD. When they are joined, as they too often are, by bass Uku Joller, things become bogged down by his lugubrious, and not always tuneful singing. Rather like a serviceable horse, he's much better at a trot; less sure of his footing when even a gentle canter up and down the scale is required; and as for the decorative stuff of vocal dressage, the less said the better.

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Copyright © 23 March 2006 Rex Harley, Cardiff UK


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