Enn Võrk

March 14, 1905, Volkovõsk, Grodno kubermang - September 20, 1962, Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union 1945-1950 and since 1959

Composer, choral conductor, pedagogue and organist Enn Võrk is known above all for his choral song „Estonian Flag“ (text: Martin Lipp). Choral songs, which he has composed over 50, form the main part of his oeuvre. Several of these, like „I Would Take a Flower Chain“ (text: Juhan Liiv), „The Singer“ (text: folklore), „Mighty Creator“ (text: Juhan Liiv), „Chime, the Air“ (text: folklore), „Men’s Song“ (text: Henrik Visnapuu) and „Legend“ (text: Heiti Talvik), have been awarded at many composition competitions and performed at Estonian song festivals. He composed a lot popular songs when he was a student at the Tallinn Conservatoire. His choral music was particularly popular before the II World War. His choral songs are characterised by simplicity, heartiness and melodiousness. They are national romantic, Nordic and patriotic.

In addition to choral music, Enn Võrk has also composed large-scale vocal music with symphony orchestra, e.g. oratorio Vigilate (1957), works for string orchestra, chamber music for different instruments, e.g. String Quartet in G major (1926) and solo songs.

Enn Võrk graduated from the composition class of Artur Kapp at the Tallinn Conservatoire in 1926. Võrk was also a respected choral conductor. He conducted the Choir of St. John’s Church in Tallinn (1926–1933), Radio Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra (1926–1929), Tartu University Students’ Mixed Choir (1933–1945), Tartu Female Song Society (1938–1944) also Mixed Choir of Tartu Society of Musicians, Tartu University Students’ Female Choir, Cantate Domino, Tallinn Educational Workers’ Female Choir and Rapla Church Choir. He also worked as a music teacher at Tartu University (1933–1945) and taught music theory at the Tallinn State Conservatoire (1945–1950, docent since 1947).

Enn Võrk was also acknowledged organist and improviser. The composer was very fond of organs and he repaired these instruments throughout his life. Alongside his work as a choral conductor in Tallinn St. John’s Church (1926–1933) and Rapla Church (1944–1950, 1955–1962) he also served there as an organist.

In 1950, Enn Võrk was forced to leave his job as a teacher for illegitimate reasons from the Tallinn State Conservatoire and his membership in the Estonian Composers’ Union was discontinued. In fear of being arrested, he hid in Viljandi County till 1955, his rights were re-established in 1959. At the end of his life, he worked as a piano tuner in the Estonian Music Foundation (1955–1960), secretary in the church music secretariat of the EELC Consistory (1955–1962) and served as a chief engineer in the Tallinn Piano Factory.

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