BLOOMINGTON, Ill—Illinois Wesleyan University will host the Heinavanker Ensemble at
8 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Evelyn Chapel (1301 N. Park St., Bloomington). The concert will
be free and open to the public.
The Heinavanker Ensemble hails from Tallinn, Estonia, and specializes in ancient Estonian sacred
music. Their repertoire consists of runic songs and folk hymns that played an integral
part in ancient Estonian culture. These archaic songs fell into relative obscurity
for hundreds of years, but started to gain new followers in the second half of the
19th century when many of these long-forgotten songs were gathered to form a compendium
of Estonian folklore. The ensemble’s unique name is inspired by 15th-century painter Hieronymos Bosch’s work The Haywain Triptych.
Since its creation in 1996, the group has been under the direction of composer Margo
Kõlar, who said “the vocal ensemble Heinavanker is a unique meeting point for musicians
active in different fields.” This musical diversity helps the ensemble successfully
improvise and adapt to the ancient Estonian folk hymns—a necessity because many of
the songs are rooted in a loose, pliable oral tradition without explicit structure.
The Heinavanker ensemble has toured throughout most of Europe and North America.
The first half of the Nov. 5 program will consist of Latin Mass hymns interspersed
with several Estonian folk selections. The second half of the concert focuses on the
ancient runic tradition of singing in strict poetic meter and features Kõlar’s “The
Songs of Olden Times,” a collection of songs inspired by runic hymns.
The ensemble will also work with the IWU Chamber Singers during a vocal workshop Nov.
5 at 4 p.m. The groups will work on an Estonian choral composition that will be performed
during the evening concert.
For more information, contact the School of Music at (309) 556-3061. The performance is sponsored by the School of Music, the Russian
and East European Studies team, and the student chapter of the American Choral Directors