Els Aarne

March 30, 1917 Makiivka village, Ukraine – June 14, 1995 Tallinn
Member of the Estonian Composers' Union since 1945

Els Aarne graduated from Tallinn State Conservatory in three speciality: music pedagogy in Gustav Ernesaks’s class (1939), piano in Theodor Lemba’s class (1942) and composition under Heino Eller (1946).

She worked as a piano teacher and pedagogue of music thoery subjects in Tallinn Teachers’ Seminar (1939–1945), Tallinn State Conservatory (1944–1974) and in Tallinn Music School for shorter time.

Among Aarne’s works there are two symphonies, several instrumental concertos (including three cello concertos), about ten solo song cycles on the texts by Estonian poets, instrumental chamber music, amply of choral songs and songs for children and music for wind orchestra. As a solo instrument, Aarne has chosen also little-used double bass (Double Bass Concerto (1968), Double Bass Sonata (1976)) and French horn (Concertino (1958), Meditation (1970) and Dialogue (1972), additionally Opening Piece (1963) for nine horns). In her works with clear form there can be found the usage of Estonian folk tunes or the modes specific to them, but also newer means of expression such as free dodecaphony. The subjects of her vocal works are diverse: work, homeland, nature, humour, human relations. With her music she illustrates subtly the mood reflecting from the text, even from a single word.

Aarne’s chamber music, mainly with the lyrical shade, has been performed by many Estonian musicians like Elsa Maasik, Georg Ots, Margarita Voites, Peep Lassmann, Mait and Peeter Paemurru, Mare Teearu, Uve Uustalu and Kalle Kauksi, Els Aarne being the ensemble partner herself at times. Choral songs have been performed by State Academic Male Choir, Female Choir of Tallinn Education Workers and others, symphonic music by Estonian Radio Symphony Orchestra (conductors Paul Karp, Roman Matsov, Neeme Järvi, Peeter Lilje, Jüri Alperten, Olev Oja). “Cat’s song” (1955) and “Song about a grasshopper” (1960) for children’s choir and Sea of Piece (1960) for wind orchestra have been in the program of general song celebrations.

Els Aarne’s musical activity was fairly vast. Her solfeggio schoolbooks (incl. I 1960, II 1962) have given the contribution to solfeggio teaching. Music theoretic problems was handled in the research “Modality in Estonian Folk Tunes” (1973, manuscript). Aarne performed as a concert pianist and ensemble player, was active as a music critic by weekly cultural paper “Sirp ja Vasar”, made radio broadcasts of Estonian interpreters and composers. Her short movie Azalea was awarded at the all-union competition for amatuer films, she has been rewarded at the photo contests as well.

Aarne’s works have been published by Muzyka, Sovetskii kompozitor, Estonian State Department of USSR Music Fund, Eesti Raamat, Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus and others.

© EMIK 2012

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