JAAN RÄÄTS (b.1932): 24 Marginalia for Piano, Op. 65, Electronic Marginalia, Op. 65a.
Catalogue Number: 09Q073
Label: Estonian Record Productions
Reference: ERP 5814
Description: There is an appealing clarity and elegance to these little pieces. Textures are spare, and repeated gestures abound - not quite in the manner of minimalism, but, at least in the more meditative pieces having something in common with fellow Estonian Arvo Pärt, and an adherence to 'new simplicity' principles in rejecting complexity and neo-romantic excess. The harmony is very tonal, though rarely in a functional sense (for one thing, the pieces are too brief to admit much interplay of harmonic relationships). A certain coolness and detachment is apparent in these 'marginalia' as though they are indeed succinct and pithy comments on a range of styles, from Baroque and Classical forms to veiled and oblique apparent references to other composers, to a recurring motif, the patterns of pealing bells. The composer's re-imagining of the works in synthesizer garb has a rather dated (1980s) feel at this point, rather as though Isao Tomita (remember him?) had gotten his hands on Rääts' pieces, but it's entertaining enough on its own terms. Kalle Randalu (piano), Jaan Rääts, Sven Grünberg (electronics).