Thursday, August 20, 2009

A beautiful postcard from Estonia!

Many thanks to Janek for sending this beautiful postcard with matching stamps from Estonia!

The postcard depicts the Estonian Song Festival and a monument to the memory of Gustav Ernesaks. These can also be seen on the two lovely stamps franked on this postcard. The left stamp was issued on 18th June 2009 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Estonian Song Festival and the right stamp belongs to the Centenary of birth of Composer and Choir conductor Gustav Ernesaks. It was issued on 17th January 2008. The Estonian Song Festival is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds. The joint choir has usually comprised 18,000 singers while in 2009, there were more than 26,000 participants performing to an audience of 80,000.

A moment before the opening of the 25th Estonian Song Festival (2009) at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

Gustav Ernesaks (1908 - 1993) was an Estonian composer and a choir onductor. He played an integral role in the Singing Revolution and was one of the father figures of the Estonian Song Festival tradition; one of his songs, set to Lydia Koidula's poem Mu isamaa on minu arm, became an unofficial national anthem during the years of Soviet occupation; ironically, he was also the composer of the Anthem of Estonian SSR used between 1945 and 1990. A statue of him was erected in 2004 on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

Watching over the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds is a monument to the memory of Gustav Ernesaks

The Estonians often like to be described as a singing people – it is an expression of the national identity of the people, which has united them in their struggle for independence both in the early years of the 20th century and during the Soviet occupation. As Janek claimed Songs festivals are a very important part of their culture.

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