In the lead up to this year’s Pärnu Music Festival, Alpha Classics releases Paavo Järvi’s latest album with the Estonian Festival Orchestra. Ship of Fools is dedicated to leading Estonian composer Jüri Reinvere, and three of his recent works, all of which were premiered in Pärnu by the Estonian Festival Orchestra and Järvi Chamber Academy.

The collaboration began in 2016 with Reinvere’s delicately playful Concerto for 2 flutes, strings and percussion featuring soloists Maarika Järvi and Monika Mattiesen, followed in 2018 with the energetic orchestral triptych And Tired from Happiness, They Started to Dance and in 2023 by the haunting Scherzo On the Ship of Fools.

The album takes its title from the moral satire “Ship of Fools” by Sebastian Brant. Though first published in 1494 the book’s central sentence remains both timeless and relevant: Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur – The world wants to be deceived, so let us deceive them. Whilst the composition “On the Ship of Fools” is labelled a “scherzo”, it is not a musical joke, but rather an eerie vision and typical of Jüri Reinvere, whose sources of inspiration are as diverse as his compositions. “People deceive each other on Facebook and Instagram,” he said, adding that politicians are primarily attempting to be likeable instead of solving urgent problems. In the interests of new ideologies, history is being rewritten everywhere to the point where we hardly know who we actually are.

Born in Tallinn in 1971 Reinvere grew up in Soviet-occupied Estonia, receiving early lessons from Lepo Sumera before moving first to Poland and then on to Finland to continue his studies. Through the Estonian-Swedish pianist and writer Käbi Laretei, his most important mentor, he met her then husband Ingmar Bergman. The Swedish film director encouraged him to study clinical psychiatry and worked with him on developing strong narrative frameworks. Laretei and Bergman then persuaded him to write poems and essays. In the meantime, he has received important awards in Estonia for his essays in the weekly magazine Sirp and daily newspaper Postimees and also writes for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany, where he has lived since 2005.

Ship of Fools is Paavo and the Estonian Festival Orchestra’s fifth recording for Alpha Classics. Previous releases include Shostakovich Symphony No. 6 and Sinfonietta (2018), MYTHOS, dedicated to the music of Erkki-Sven Tüür in celebration of his 60th birthday (2019), ESTONIAN PREMIERES (2022) featuring the music of Tõnu Kõrvits, Ülo Krigul, Helena Tulve, Tauno Aints and Lepo Sumera; and KRATT (2023) which explores the relationship between Estonia and Poland under Soviet occupation, through the music of Tubin, Lutoslawsi and Bacewicz.


More about this release here

Available from:
Alpha Classics