Speeches

Acceptance Speech for the Composition Award by the Estonian Music Council

1 October 2012

I am very much moved, thank you.
My dear ones, wherever and whoever you are, I want to tell you about a secret, or rather, about two secrets. I know the first one, though maybe you don’t. But as to the second one, even I don’t know it.

Juhan Liiv [an Estonian poet] has said, “Ring, o soul! Soul is words.” There, Liiv did not have music in mind, but spoke about the soul and words. He equates the two, and this means that the two depend on each other. Try to imagine what sort of power, force and purity words must have in order to shape the human soul in such a way that it would start to ring.

Something similar ought to occur with music. And do you know why? It is because every musical sound is also a word, a word in its deepest sense. This is a secret, and a secret about which musicians themselves forget. They discard it like a useless stone, but the stone has the potential of a cornerstone.

I will give you an example, to clarify (the example is slightly negative, though). Let us imagine that a writer feels the urge to insert obscenities into every other sentence. The listener or the reader might then think that there’s something askew in this soul—it is creaking and squeaking. A door or a window creaking in this way needs oiling. Similarly, a soul in this condition needs oiling with a word, until it rings again. A Word with a capital letter.

These things happen in the world of music as well; I have experienced it myself.

When forty years ago I started exploring early music with Kuldar Sink, we had very interesting music history books, French and English ones. We were most amazed by the examples given in these books, but all of them were by anonymous authors. There were hundreds of these examples. This was absolutely enthralling musical material which we encountered. Those anonymous authors are like a firmament of heaven shining upon us, but we don’t even know their names.

I am ashamed to stand here in the limelight in front of you and them. It would be much more honest to be an “anonymous.” Perhaps Juhan Liiv would be such an anonymous on a global scale. And by his merits he is one indeed.

The anonymous exist in all fields, you know – even in the fields of Keila municipality. I’m about to tell you how. Indeed! Every year—every spring and every autumn—a stranger plants in front of my door a beautiful flowerbed which is a true work of art. I do not know who it is—I haven’t been able to catch them… I hope that perhaps this person might be watching the television right now, and that is why I came here. Or maybe they’re here in the concert hall? No, I don’t think they are, because this is not what the anonymous do. This person has made me happy. Even when I go in and out through the door ten times a day, I always think of them. Whenever I pass the flowerbed, I thank them from my heart. I would like to give them something; if there were a flower here, maybe I’d give that to them. But what would they do with a flower? I think that what has just been awarded me is for this person as well, because it was given to me for that which they have fertilised in me. I thank them once again from the depth of my heart.

But to all of you, I’d like to give a fragment of prose by Juhan Liiv: “The dream of a flower is its blossom.”

Translated by Krista Mits, Nikita Andrejev, Marrit Andrejeva

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