Rein Laul

March 20, 1939 Tallinn
Member of the Russian Composers' Union since 1969

Composer, musicologist and pedagogue Rein Laul graduated from the Tallinn Music School in the piano class of Hilja Olm (1958), Leningrad Conservatoire in musicology as a student of Ada Schnittke (1964) and composition under Vadim Salmanov (1967). In 1970 he completed his postgraduate studies in Leningrad State Institute of Theatre, Music and Cinema in musicology with Sergey Bogoyavlenski (1970, dissertation „Стиль и композиционная техника А. Шенберга“ (Arnold Schönberg’s Style and Composition Techinque)). In 1990, he defended doctoral thesis „Логические функции мотива в протцессе формо-образования“ (Logical Functions of a Motive in the Process of Development) in Moscow Conservatoire.

Rein Laul has been a pedagogue in the St. Petersburg Conservatoire since 1970 (professor since 1993), he has taught music analysis, harmony and polyphony. He has done research on methodology of music analysis, and on 20th century music (especially the Second Viennese School). He has created a theory of functional shifts of musical motives and followed up Viktor Bobrovki’s theory of modulating forms.

Rein Laul may be considered the founder of Estonian music analysis traditions. He has published a number of publications, mainly in Russian and Estonian as well as articles in Russian, Estonian, English and Dutch e.g. Elements of Chess Strategy in Thematic Processes of Beethoven’s Music (1994), Shostakovich’s Music in the Light of Bolshevist Ideology and Practice (1994), Humour in Beethoven’s Music (1998), also articles discussing work of Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Berg, Webern and Borodin.

Rein Laul has given lectures also in Estonian Academy of Music and participated in conferences „A Composition as a Problem“ held in Tallinn (1996, 1998). In 1999 Estonian Academy of Music and Estonian Musicological Society celebrated his 60th birthday with a meeting dedicated to music analysis. Estonian musicologists Mart Humal, Andres Pung and Margus Pärtlas were his post-graduate students in St. Petersburg. He is an honorary doctor of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (2009).

Rein Laul’s books published in Russian: „О модулирующих формах“ (Leningrad, 1986), „Мотив и музыкальное  формообразование“ (Leningrad, 1987), „О функционалъной динамике сонатной формы венских классиков“ (Leningrad, 1990). His books in Estonian: „Sissevaateid muusikasse“ (Tartu, 1999) ja „Seitseteist etüüdi Beethoveni muusikast“ (Tallinn, 2001).

Rein Laul has written orchestral music, instrumental chamber music and piano pieces. Composer considers the Symphony (1973) as his major work which has been recorded by Estonian National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Eri Klas. His Wind Quintet has been performed by Jaan Tamm Wind Quintet, works for violin have been played by Lemmo Erendi. Piano music has been performed by his son, pianist Peeter Laul. His music is characterized by expressionist and neoclassical traits, also he has used the twelve-tone technique in his music.

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