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  • Complete Piano Music 3
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Complete Piano Music 3

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Audio CD, April 30, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 30, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Toccata
  • ASIN: B00BMZNO82
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,027 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
As the foremost Estonian composer of his era, Heino Eller (1887-1970) is revered in his country. To those of us from elsewhere he is probably best known as the teacher of Arvo Pärt, the current leading light of Estonian music. Thanks to critic turned music entrepreneur Martin Anderson, the founder of Toccata Classics, we are now getting a slew of recordings of music from the Baltic states and discovering some laudable works. This is the third in a series of CDs -- there will be seven -- of Eller's complete works for piano, all played by Estonian pianist Sten Lassmann, an artist in his early thirties.

On this disc are works from what are roughly Eller's early, middle and late periods, including Three Studies (1917-1919), Five Préludes (1929-1930), Ten Lyric Pieces (1942-1943) and his Fourth Piano Sonata (1957-1958).

In their order on the CD:

The Ten Lyric Pieces, formally inspired by Grieg's Lyric Pieces, are mostly somber, even melancholy, pieces written in the period immediately after Eller's Jewish first wife was taken by the SS and a few months later executed. The music here is, in the main, gripping, heart-rending. Interestingly there is a seemingly inappropriate mazurka-like piece, No. 8, which however is secretly apt as a Chopin mazurka was one of the last pieces Eller heard his wife, a pianist, play. The last, and longest, Lyric Piece is a set of variations ending in a quadruple fugue.

The early Three Studies are rather more lyrical than the Lyrical Pieces, sounding to some extent like Grieg or Christian Sinding. Most effective is the third one, in G Flat Major, which has ceaseless sixteenth notes throughout. The second study, also in G Flat, is brief and somewhat jocular.
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