Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Violin Concerto (1933)
Symphonic Poem: Twilight (1917)
Symphonic Poem: Dawn (1920)
Symphonic Poem: Phantoms (1924)
Symphonic Poem: In the Shade and in the Sunshine (1926)
Symphonic Poem: The Singing Fields (1951) *
Viktor Pikaizen (violin)
Estonian Radio SO/Peeter Lilje (Vello Pähn *)
rec 1984-86 Estonian Radio
Amazon US

Eller's standing is as an Estonian nationalist figure. He was put on the Soviet map by a series of LPs issued by Melodiya in 1970s. These presented the concerto, plus the other pieces on this disc alongside the second and third symphonies and the sinfonietta.

Eller studied Law at St Petersburg University (1908-11) and then moved to music lessons at the Conservatory with Rimsky pupil, Benjamin Kalafati. For twenty years, until 1940, he taught music at the Tartu Music High School then joining the staff of the Tallin Conservatory. He, together with Arthur Kapp, effectively founded the Estonian nationalist school.

Eller's works include three symphonies (1936, 1947, 1962), five string 4tets (1925, 1930, 1945, 1954, 1959), two violin sonatas (1922, 1946), four piano sonatas (1920, 1937, 1944, 1958). There are five tone poems and they are all on this disc. However let's address the Concerto first.

The concerto is folk-based, and much taken up with the romantic Baltic afflatus. The music is instantly taken in by the listener. There are no obstacles. Stylistically Eller twists his 'rope' from strands of Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Glazunov all soaked in folk flavour and a highly romantic spirit. Pikaisen spins the line in silver and starry gold - master craftsman that he is. The music surrenders to a few glowing Hollywood sunsets along the way. While not as catchy as the Latvian, Janis Ivanovs', concerto written some fifteen years later, the work has much in common with the middle movement of the Moeran concerto in its spiccato zest and ripeness. The work was premiered in 1965 by Vladimir Alumae.

Eller was fond of the tone poem and there are five on this disc. Twilight is a slender little charmer surely influenced by Sibelius (The Bard) with notable roles for the solo violin and harp. If the theme is not cut from supreme cloth Eller uses it poetically. Much the same can be said of Dawn but there the theme is much better - Rimskian and optimistically inclined. At 3.17 a fluster of birdsong recalls the explosion of avian cries in Nightride and Sunrise. Ironically it ends sleepily when you might have thought that full sunrise would have been more uproarious. Phantoms was inspired by a visit to Paris's catacombs - shades of Gaston Leroux's 'Phantom of the Opera' and is suitably overcast. In the Shade and in the Sun takes us back to the Nordic world of the Dryad, Oceanides and Tempest (3.45). There is a memorable little gracious dipping dance at 1.30. Other landmarks include Bridge's Summer and even some Delius. Twenty five years later The Singing Fields leads us through a world dictated by Rimsky and Glazunov but ruffled by squalls from Vaughan Williams 6, Ravel's Bolero and (disconcertingly) Ron Goodwin's 633 Squadron.

A lucky find for the enquiring soul with a leaning towards Nordic late romantics. Notes are pretty good with sound quality consistently with very decent digital radio broadcasts.

Rob Barnett

The disc can be purchased through Amazon using link above or ordered through a UK dealerpriced @ approx £13.99 . Can also be obtained from Kingdom Records Ltd, Clarendon House, Shenley Rd. Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1AG. enquiries Tel. 020 8207 7006 or via E-mail

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