Just outside the walls of Tallinn’s medieval Old Town stands a high-rise hotel with a bleak, functional design. When it opened in 1972, it was Estonia’s first skyscraper and the largest hotel in the Baltics. The local joke, that the hotel was “made of micro-concrete, as in concrete and microphones,” was in fact no joke. The top floor contained a radio center, not discovered until 1994, from which the KGB spied on hotel guests. Continue reading
It must be somewhere, the original harmony . . .
When we first decided on a trip to Helsinki, we didn’t know that Tallinn, Estonia, was so nearby. Nor did we know, when we first arranged our schedule, that our arrival in Tallinn coincided with the last day of the 26th Estonian Song Celebration, a storied national event held once every five years. I was able to get two tickets, on the grass. Whether we could actually attend was open to doubt, but at least we’d have a chance. Continue reading
Almost two years have passed since I met Merike Beecher at a concert at Scandinavia House. I didn’t know her name until later, and I didn’t meet her son until the three of us happened to land in the same subway car. Her son, it transpired, was a composer: Lembit Beecher. When I got home, I looked up Beecher, watched his oratorio, And Then I Remember, online, and snapped up a copy of the DVD. I’ve been on the look-out ever since to attend a live performance of Beecher’s work, and this October, I finally got my chance. Continue reading