Kuldar Sink

From Unearthing The Music

Kuldar Sink (14 September 1942 Tallinn - January 29, 1995 Kõrve Village, Võru County) was an Estonian composer and flute player.


Kuldar Sink graduated in 1960 from Tallinn Music School's music theory course and then in 1961 from the flute course. He then continued his studies between 1961-1966 at the Leningrad Conservatory under Andrei Petrov. Among his composition teachers, Sink considered Veljo Tormis, with whom he studied at Tallinn Music Schhol, to be the most important.

Between 1960 and 1963 he worked as a flutist at the "Estonia" Theatre Orchestra, and in 1963–1973 at Estonian TV and Radio Symphony Orchestra. From 1973 to the end of his life, Sink was a freelance composer.

Sink was seen as a composer in permanent search of new styles. Famous as a bold experimenter with avant-garde compositional techniques, he did not strive toward an overwhelming control of musical processes in his works. His music is full of spontaneity and stylistic contrasts. Within stylistic changes, the special character of Sink's idiom stayed unchangeable – fragile, detailed and full of colorful texture.

In 1965 he went to the Warsaw Autumn Festival with Arvo Pärt. He was a frequent traveler, having visited Dagestan for the first time at the age of seventeen, and soon after visiting Buryatia with Jaan Kaplinski by the South Caucasus and Central Asia. These travels influenced his work, having led to, for instance, a trilogy of piano sonatas entitled Mountains and People ("Mäed ja inimesed", 1977) inspired by Kazakh and Kirghiz folk music.


Sink's musical oeuvre is marked by several periods. In the first, neoclassicist period, his works were influenced by Debussy and Bartók, from his concertina flute and chamber orchestra (1960).

The second period was indebted to the New Vienna School and especially to Anton Weber. Among his works in this period are "Monotematic Etudes" for piano quintet (1964), compositions for two pianos (1964 - 1966), "Seasons" (1965) and Chamber Symphony No. 2 (1967).

The third phase is marked by an aleatoric approach. Pieces created during this phase include, for example, the "Diary of Musical Events III" for four singers, four readers and instrumental ensembles.

Sink was relatively inactive for a while prior to his travels in Central Asia. This journey, during which Kuldar Sink became acquainted with Kazakh and Kyrgyz folk music, launched a new phase in his music. Its first opus - Sonata Trilogy "Mountains and People" for Piano - was written in Kyrgyzstan, next to Lake Issyk-Kul. This period is characterized by a free, improvisation-like development. It also includes the five part cycle with lyrics by Federico García-Lorca "Songs of Birth and Death" (1985), which features a strong Spanish influence and widely used Arabic scales.

His later period is characterized by a simplification of his language and eclecticism. He delved into religious topics and was inspired by Roman Catholic and Slavic Orthodox texts. Most of these pieces are written for liturgical texts; among them is the "Mass of St. Mary's Land", which lasts more than three hours.



  • Three characters for piano
  • Three preludes for piano
  • Motor burlesque for piano


  • Three songs for Tagore 's voice and piano
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano # 1


  • Three pieces for string orchestra
  • Five meditation for piano
  • Concerto for Strings (3 Pieces for String Orchestra)
  • Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra
  • Piano sonata
  • Scherzando wind quintet
  • Sonat for violin and piano no 2
  • Five meditations for piano


  • Passacaglia for violin and piano


  • "Ringing Smarter", Song Cycle with Piano ( Henry Longfellow )


  • Chamber Symphony No. 1
  • Contrasts to piano and chamber orchestra
  • Suite for chamber ensemble


  • No. 1 for solo flutes
  • Five sharks
  • Divertisment for four violins, three wild horns and two trumpets


  • 2 small quartets for string quartet
  • Quintet for wind instruments
  • Seasons, Cantata for soloist, mixed choir and symphony orchestra (Juhan Liiv and Japanese poets)


  • "Anima absentis" ( Federico García Lorca )
  • Four compositions for two piano
  • Studi monotematic (Monotematic Etudes) for piano quintet


  • Chamber Concert No 1 for piano and string orchestra
  • Chamber Symphony No. 2 (dedicated to Rudolf Baršaile )
  • Piano Concerto
  • Oktett for flute, oboe , clarinet , bassoon , horn, violin, cello and piano


  • "Diario degli accidenti musicali" III for four singers, four readers and instrumental ensemble ( Artur Alliksaar )


  • Small string quartets


  • Sonata Trilogy "Mountains and People" (piano tunes No. 2-4) for piano


  • Three poems for Rabindranath Tagore words for mixed choir


  • The Flute Symphony for Three Flutes


  • "Songs of Birth and Death" to the mezzo-soprano and instrumental ensemble (Federico García Lorca)
  • "Canción de jinete" ("Horse Song")
  • "El Grito" ("The Cat")
  • "El Silencio" ("Childhood")
  • "Alma ausente" ("Leaving the Soul")
  • "Malagueña"


  • "Home song" for voice, flute, guitar and cello
  • "Ave Maria" for soprano and organ
  • "Ave Maria III" ("Setu Maria") for mixed choir


  • "Ave Maria" for soprano and guitar
  • "Cadenza e sans passwords: l'hommage á Pyotr Tschaikowsky", concert for cello and piano
  • "Maarjamaa missa" for mixed choir
  • "Ave Maria" for piano
  • "Ave Maria" for soprano IV and piano
  • "Halleluu" for Metsosopran
  • "Stabat mater" for mezzo-soprano and piano
  • Psalm 19 "The heavens tell the glory of God" to the soprano and the organ
  • "Stabat mater" for mezzo-soprano and guitar
  • "Ave Maria V" voice
  • "Dona nobis pacem" for mixed choir
  • Psalm 23 "Jehovah is My Shepherd" for mixed choir


  • "Seasons" for soprano, flute, guitar, cello and harp (Juhan Liiv)
  • "Glory of Grace" for Mixed Choir ( Peeter Sink )
  • "Lord, bless you" for bass and male choir
  • Psalm 107 "God Saves the Chastity" for the Mixed Choir
  • Psalm 62 "God is the only refuge" for the mixed choir
  • Psalm 42 "Longing for God" for mixed choir
  • Psalm 37 "The Wicked Is Waiting" for the mixed choir
  • "Surrender" for soprano and mixed choir
  • "Welcome!" for mixed choir
  • "Ave Maria VII" for voice, flute and harp
  • "Silencio III" ("Silence III") for soprano and guitar (Federico García Lorca)
  • "Come to my quiet chamber" for soprano and mixed choir ( Peeter Sink )


  • "I know the sea" ("I know of the sea") for cello and piano
  • "On the road, on the road, on the throats ..." for the voice and guitar
  • "Pater noster" for soprano and guitar
  • "Pater noster II" for soprano and piano
  • " Our Father's Prayer " for baritone and male choir
  • "Our Father's Prayer II" for soprano and mixed choir
  • "Our Father's Prayer III" for mixed choir
  • "Our Father's Prayer IV" for soprano
  • "Requiem aeternam" for male choir
  • "Gloria" for mixed choir
  • "Welcome, Maria II" to the soloist and children's choir
  • "Agnus Dei" for mixed choir
  • "Two Songs" for Rainer Maria Rilke's text for mixed choir
  • "Three Songs" for Juhan Liivi's text for mixed choir
  • "Four Nature Photos" for Juhan Liivi's texts on mezzo-soprano, violin, guitar
  • "Ubi caritas" for mixed choir
  • "Kyrie eleison" for mixed choir


  • "Maria's Lullaby" for Voice and Piano (Peeter Sink)
  • "Sea", ballad for cello and piano
  • "Gospodi, pomilui mne" for mixed choir
  • "My beautiful Jesus" for cello and piano
  • "Christmas Eve" for cello, trianl, flute and piano
  • Behind the Rising River Concert Variations for Violin, Organ, Drums and Mixed Choir
  • "Love Sings on Christmas Eve" for voice and piano (Peeter Sink)
  • "Du kommst und gehst" for mixed choir (Rainer Maria Rilke)
  • "I don't understand the prayer to ask" male choir (Juhan Liiv)
  • "Otše naš" for mixed choir
  • "Dies irae" for male choir, organ or bagpipes, roulette and big drum
  • "The brightest star" for cello and piano


  • "Gospodi, pomilui" solo-cello
  • "Christmas dress" for solo flute
  • "Our Father's Prayer" for Cello and Piano

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