Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Heino JÜRISALU (1930-1991)
Three Estonian Dances (1956)
Three Serenades for Chamber Orchestra (1961)
Quintet (1956)
Flute Concerto (1969)
Forest Concerto for horn and orchestra (??)
Symphony No. 2 (1975)
Dances: Latvian RSO/Eric Klas (rec Riga 1971)
Serenades: Moscow RSO/Nijazi (rec Moscow, 1975)
Quintet - Jaan Dun (fl), Aleksander Rjabov (cl), Moissei Alperten (vn), Peeter Paemurru (vc), Evi Ross (pf) (rec Estonian Radio 1979)
Flute Cto - Samuel Saulus (fl)/Estonian RSO/ric Klas (rec Estonian Radio 1971)
Horn Cto - Kalle Kauksi (horn)/Estonian RSO/Peeter Lilje (rec Estonian Radio 1983)
Sym 2 - Estonian RSO/Paul Mägi (rec Estonian Radio 1980)
ANTES EDITION BM-CD 31.9119 [74.56]

Prokofiev was the model for the gamin high spirits of the Dances though there are other moderating voices along the way. These include Ippolitov-Ivanov! Could Jürisalu have heard some Copland; the open-air Aaron uncannily stalks the second dance (Sabatants). The other parallel work is the sequence of orchestral dances (Mont Juic) written jointly by Britten and Lennox Berkeley in Barcelona in the 1930s just before the Spanish Civil War. The Dances are a gloriously sincere blend of folk spirit and classical sophistication. They stand confidently in a long line which includes the Dvorák and Brahms dances (Slavonic and Hungarian).

The Three Serenades are given a performance such as must have delighted the composer. They are said to be for chamber orchestra but the chamber dimension is not at all obvious. The Moscow Radio SO did not slim down the ranks for this version and everyone, including conductor Nijazi (who is he?), pour red-blooded commitment into these pages. So, on the one hand we have a work avowedly for chamber orchestra performed by a full orchestra at full throttle and on the other the work declares itself as three serenades - the impression is quite other. Even the surreal sleepwalking of the Adagio sounds more symphonic than light. The Moderato paced Marcia is optimistic in a far from simple-minded way. It is touched with Prokofiev's invention and Poulenc's wit. The shark-toothed violin solo, however, is unmistakably from Shostakovich.

After two succinct orchestral works comes the Quintet whose piano part ripples with the sort of rhythmic figures we know from the Shostakovich piano concertos. This is encased in some delightful romance which is pretty close to Poulenc and to the bright Atlantic coastline evocations of Ropartz and his fellow Bretons. The vinegary 'Keel Row' japes of the Fugue make this a natural partner for Malcolm Arnold's Quintet and Shanties.

The Forest Concerto suggests again a Baltic Malcolm Arnold - very positive and sanguine though the clouds gather in Balakirev-like gloomy romance for the Grave only to be parted for the Arnoldian allegretto. The Flute Concerto is as short as an overture suggestive of Walton's Siesta. Its determined tread and determined fantasy again point towards Arnold. Jürisalu proves himself a master melodist.

The Second Symphony is folksy, rhythmically patterned, unfacile, goaded along with cogent urgency by the rattle of the side drum, never hysterical. The angst of the second movement (another Grave) is succeeded by a return to the patterned quick pulse of the first movement ushering in a sense of sunlit victory.

Antes are rapidly providing us with a primer of fine Estonian music. Do try to get hold of this disc.

Rob Barnett



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