Heino Eller Complete Piano Music Dec20

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Album at a Glance

Solo PianoSomewhat Atonal or Dissonant
Toccata Classics Record Label - Toccata Classics: “Dedicated to producing recordings of the vast amount of top-notch classical music that the concert halls and major record companies are ignoring."
Release date: 2012-10-3

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Pianist Sten Lassmann plays Heino Eller from Toccata Classics

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Toccata Classics has taken on the vital role of putting to disc piano music of the 20th century that is either relatively or completely unknown. The results have been very rewarding. Albums from the recent past have given us keyboard music of Arthur Farwell, Riccardo Malipiero, Leo Ornstein, Alexander Tcherepnin, Janis Medins… and the list goes on. The CD recommended here is the second in a projected seven disc series of the complete music for piano of Heino Eller (1887 – 1970).

Eller was a prolific composer, celebrated violinist, and a renowned teacher who counted among his students Eduard Tubin, Lepo Sumera and Arvo Pärt. His musical language is lyrical and romantic, employing interesting modal harmonies and an imaginative use of polyphonic textures. His music is evocative of Sibelius and Scriabin, seems influenced by impressionism and is not untouched by composers of the Second Viennese School, Schoenberg, Webern and Berg. I was drawn to Eller’s music from the opening tracks, and only became more enamored as the music played on. The deal that this would be an Uncommonly Classical recommendation was sealed about 25 minutes in as I listened to the potent and darkly beautiful Episode from Revolutionary Times (1917). This alone is worth the price of the CD.

Most of the works here are world premiere recordings. Performances by pianist Sten Lassmann, who is making this Eller cycle his PhD project at the Royal Academy of Music in London, are excellent. Hopefully the young doctor will bring Heino Eller’s piano music the recognition that it clearly deserves.

The video below provides a sample of Eller’s piano music, performed by Mr. Lassman.