Johannes Bleive

b. September 17, 1909 Tartu
d. May 16, 1991 Tartu

The life and activity of composer and pedagogue Johannes Bleive was very closely bound up with Tartu city. As the creator of miniatures of impressionist nature he excels in songs and piano music.

Johannes Bleive studied in Tartu Higher Music School, first the violin in Robert Peenemaa’s class (1928–1931) and then composition with Heino Eller (1931–1938). In 1939, he graduated from Tallinn Conservatory as a external student of Artur Kapp.

More than 40 years, 1940–1985, Bleive worked as a pedagogue of music theory subjects in Heino Eller Tartu Music School. Among his students there are Leo Schotter, Aare Allikvee, Johannes Jürisson, Valdeko Viru, Mare Põldmäe and others. Since 1957 he led the work of Tartu department of Estonian Composers’ Union. Also he was active as a conductor and music critic.

Bleive’s music is characterized by colourful harmony, impressionist manner of expression and subtly elaborated facture. Composer is attracted to topics of nature, especially the sea (The Sea Etudes, The Sea Poem, Song of a Sailor, Tired Cranes Above the Sea). The body of his oeuvre is formed by miniatures – solo and choral songs, piano pieces. Beside these, he has written an oratorio Through the Centuries (1971), cantata Wanderer’s Songs (1939) and orchestral works.

His works have been performed by Elsa Avesson, Vaike Vahi, Charles Kipper, Ago Russak, Tiiu Usk, Rein Bleive, Ellen Laidre, Avo Kittask, Kaljo Räästas, Evi Vanamölder, Sigrid Orusaar and Tõnu Reimann. His orchestral works have been conducted by Kirill Raudsepp, Roman Matsov, Valdeko Viru, Endel Nõgene and others.

Bleive’s solo songs have been published in compendium „Romansse ja laule“ [Romances and Songs] (Estonian Department of USSR Music Foundation, 1959).


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