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Cyrillus Kreek

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Cyrillus Kreek (1889-1962) was a leading promoter of the Estonian choir music, whose work focused largely on ethnomusicology. He was a well-known composer, conductor and music teacher. C. Kreek was the first Estonian to use phonograph in folkloric collection work. His personal collection of folk tunes consists of nearly 6000 recordings. Among his contributions was also the collection of the religious folk tunes of the Estonian Swedes.

C. Kreek collected Estonian folk tunes mainly in the Western coastal area. Apart from having good communicative skills and a witty sense of humour, he was successful in establishing good contacts with his informants also due to the popularity of his father, a lifelong school teacher in the region.

During the periods 1940-1941 and 1944-1950 Cyrillus Kreek worked as a professor of music theory at the Tallinn Conservatory. In 1950, when most of the earlier Estonian intelligentsia was labelled `bourgeois nationalists’, professor Kreek was forced to “voluntarily” resign from his post for “not meeting the qualifications, neither professional nor ideological, required for a work at a higher education school”.

C. Kreek was undoubtedly the paramount expert and the most prolific collector of the folk tunes of western Estonia.

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