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Cyrillus Kreek (1889-1962) comes from a family of school teachers at Saanika, Võnnu, Ridala parish, Läänemaa (West Estonia). He received his musical education at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire in trombone and composition between 1908 and 1916. His subsequent life was comprised of teaching at Haapsalu, at the Rakvere Teachers' Seminar (1919/1920), at the Tartu Music College (1920/1921) and at the Tallinn Conservatoire (1940/1941, 1944-50, professor since 1947).

With support from the Estonian Students' Society and under the leadership of Dr. O. Kallas, a systematic collection of Estonian folk tunes was carried out in 1904-1916. Kreek joined in the collection in 1911 (in 1914 he started collecting folk tunes by means of a phonograph, being the first Estonian to do so), later he continued on his own. He also copied the materials of other collectors. The folk music files of Cyrillus Kreek contained about 6,000 tunes. The composer became one of the finest connoisseurs of the folk music of his time, with a deep understanding of its nature. The major part of Kreek's work - choral music - is based on folk music or is derived from it. Kreek has consistently used vernacular devotional song (the popularly sung versions of chorales). Kreek has, with extraordinary mastery, transcribed folk tunes polyphonically (e.g. "Our Master" 1918, "In the Lane Outside My Home" 1921), the composer has regularly combined religious folk melodies with polyphony.

Notebook 1 was completed at Haapsalu from April 1916 to December 1917, the best part of Notebook 2 - in 1918, and the last entries were made at Rakvere in the winter of 1919/1920.

Tiia Järg

(Translation from the original Estonian LP notes by Tiia Järg)