Vox Clamantis, Jaan-Eik Tulve

Church music, Symphony Music, Vocal music

Vox Clamantis, Jaan-Eik Tulve

Vox Clamantis is a vocal ensemble that revolves around its leader Jaan-Eik Tulve. During the twenty-two years of its existence singers have come and gone, but one man and his vision of music have always been consistently in the centre.

It all started with Gregorian chant, which Tulve studied in Paris in the 1990s. Back in Estonia he formed Vox Clamantis in 1996 to continue singing this ancient plainchant which is the foundation of Western art music. The ensemble’s various line- ups were always like gatherings of kindred spirits, devotees of the idea that the essence of Gregorian chant can reach beyond its stylistic boundaries and blend freely with the music of modern times and other cultures.
The ensemble has performed with the electric guitars of Weekend Guitar Trio and the oud of yair Dalal, the voice of Dhafer youssef from Tunisia, the nyckelharpa of Marco Ambrosini and the pure voice of Arianna Savall.
Vox Clamantis has often performed music by Estonian composers as well, including the energetic compositions of Erkki-Sven Tüür, the electronic explorations of Sven Grünberg and Helena Tulve’s delicate sound-webs. This list is not exhaustive, and the ensemble is always open to new collaborations.

The members of the ensemble devote their skills and energy to Vox Clamantis while also pursuing other occupations. Some of them are professional singers or instrumentalists, some are composers or conductors, while others work outside the field of music. Singing in Vox Clamantis has been a learning process full of discoveries for all involved. The sincere dedication to the music making of the early years has gradually been channelled into a confident and eloquent individual voice that is now internationally recognised.

In 2012 ECM released the album ‘Filia Sion’, which earned positive reviews. In the same year the ensemble participated in the Grammy-winning album ‘Adam’s Lament’ with music by Arvo Pärt. In 2013 the recording of Liszt’s Via crucis for Mirare with French pianist Jean-Claude Pennetier won a Diapason d’or award, and the singing of Vox Clamantis was also heard in Paolo Sorrentino’s film La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty), which won an Academy Award (oscar) in 2014. The group’s most recent CD, ‘Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry’ (ECM), won a Diapason d’or, a Choc de Classica, a nomination for the BBC Music Magazine Award and the Album of the year award in Estonia.

The connection between Vox Clamantis and Arvo Pärt dates back to 1999, when the ensemble started to perform his organ piece Annum per Annum combined with liturgical chant, and the composer was enthusiastic about their idea. Since then, the group’s contact with Pärt’s music has deepened. Today it is a relationship that is warm and friendly rather than just professional.