Rudolf Tobias (1873-1918) founded the classical-music tradition in Estonia almost single-handledly, writing the first Estonian orchestral piece, the first Estonian string quartet, first Estonian piano concerto and the first Estonian oratorio, the monumental Des Jona Sendung, from which Ines Maidre has now transcribed for organ the blazingly powerful Sanctus. Although Tobias was himself an outstanding organist, he wrote little music for his own instrument and most of it is modest in scale, but its quirky craftsmanship reveals the hand of a master.
Ines Maidre, organ; Arete Teemets, soprano;
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Catalogue No: TOCC0288EAN/UPC: 5060113442888Release Date: 06.04.2015Composer: Rudolf Tobias Artists: Arete Teemets,
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Colin Clarke :
The Largo, “Wisset ihr nicht” is based on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God.” It is heard here in an arrangement for solo organ by August Topman (1882–1968). This is one of Tobias’s most famous compositions, apparently dating from 1900. Earlier still is the group of five Kleine Choralvorspiele (1892). Two of them feature the Estonian soprano Arete Teemets, who has a pure, strong voice that delivers the chorales in the second and fourth with much beauty. She shines, too, in the Agnus Dei (actually for mezzo), a piece which weaves the chorale O Lamm Gottes in with the solo line. … More advanced harmonically is the Ciacona, Macht’ hoch die Tür (heard in the Advent 1914 version, one of two versions). It is fascinatingly wrought, its harmonies seemingly ever searching yet providing glimpses along the way of light. The Prelude and Fughetta in C Minor (1914) is expertly written, with pungent harmonies meeting supremely wrought counterpoint. … This is a fine set of Chorale Preludes; perhaps finest amongst them is the Nachtstück, “Nun ruhen alle Wälder” (No. 10), a thing of beauty. The advanced final prelude, “Komm heil’ger Geist, o Herre,” is a remarkable piece, well worth hearing for its adventurous spirit as well as the sheer compositional expertise. It seems the perfect way to end this significant set, and one hopes that of all the works on this disc, it is these 1914 Chorale Preludes that make it into the repertory.
The Fugue in D Minor that closes the recital is active, lively, and makes for a successful finale to this significant disc. … Recommended. —Fanfare Magazine, September 2015
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