Raimond Valgre

October 7, 1913, Riisipere – December 31, 1949, Tallinn

Composer and popular music artist.

Raimond Valgre studied piano in Paide, Rapla and Tallinn, had his poems published in the magazine ''Laste Rõõm''. In 1931, he graduated from the Tallinn State Technology Gymnasium in construction. After serving in the army he was active as a restaurant musician and started to compose songs, mainly for his own lyrics (he publihed his first song ''Blond Aleksandra'' under pseudonym G. Diesel). He was one of the publishers of a songbook ''Modern Pop Songs''. In 1930's he played at the most popular scenes (Astoria, Maxim, OK, Draamakelder), besides piano he also played accordion, guitar and drums and took singing lessons. In the summers he played at the Pärnu Beach Salon where he also began as a bandmaster in 1941. In the World War II he was part of the ensemble (1942–1944) and jazz orchestra (1944–1945). He entered the Tallinn State Conservatory in 1944 to study piano and in 1945 composition but was erased from students’ record soon after. In 1948, he studied for a short time at a Composers’ Union seminar for young beginner composers. 1946–1947 played at the Tallinn Youth House jazz orchestra, later at restaurants, last performance scene was Pärnu Beach Café. Valgre became very popular during the war.

He has written over 100 songs that became more popular after his death (thanks to performers like Georg Ots and others) and have stayed in the repertoire of many until now. Many recordings have been made at Estonian Radio, including LP ''Raimond Valgre'' (Melodija, 1987) and CD-s ''Raimond Valgre laule'' (performed by U. Lattikas; Forte, 1993), ''Raimond Valgre laulud läbi viie aastakümne'' (ER, 1996), ''Annan sul suud, härra Valgre'' (Katrin Karisma and Tõnu Kilgas, Estonian Defence Forces Orchestra, conductor Peeter Saan, 1996), ''Sinilintu'' (Anita Heino, Sirje Medell and Finest Sextet, 1996), ''Raimond Valgre'' (Sulev Luik, 1997), ''Raimond Valgre laule'' (Karavan, 1997), ''Üksi'' (A.-L. Poll, T. Kalluste, A. Varts and T. Remmel, 1999), ''Muinaslugu muusikas'' (T. Paulus, 2001), ''Pleased to Meet You, Mr. Valgre'' (Francis Goya, 2001), ''Eesti kullafond. Raimond Valgre'' (3 CD-s, 2003), ''Swing mind ikka lohutab'' (Modern Fox, 2003) and ''Nüüd laulmas iga tund…'' (The Female Choir of the Estonian Academy of Science and the Engineers' Male Choir; ERCD, 2003). His music has been published in many song collections (1959, 1964, 1988, 1993, 2002, 2005). Based on his songs a musical called ''A Fairy-Tail in Music'' has been composed (libretto by Ülo Raudmäe, Sulev Nõmmik and Enn Vetemaa, premiered in 1967 at the Estonia Theatre). Also two films, ''Forever Yours'' (directed by Mati Põldre, script Lembit Lauri, 1976) and ''These Old Love Letters'' (directed by Mati Põldre, 1992; CD 1993, DVD 2003) and a play ''The Calling of Valgre'' (directed by Kaarel Kilvet, premiered in 1985 at the Youth Theatre) have been made. In 1988, Raimond Valgre Festival was founded, from 1998 Raimond Valgre Culture Week has been organised at the Tartu Karlova Gymnasium, festival called ''A Bow to Valgre'' takes place in Pärnu from 2002.

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