Homage: Jaan Rääts

Nicolas Horvath. Credit: Perla Maarek

Nicolas Horvàth, a French pianist who is a devoted Estonian music performer, has compiled an exciting programme that contains piano works by Jaan Rääts, a renowned Estonian composer who celebrates his 85th birthday this year. In addition to Rääts’s works, Horvàth will perform piano pieces dedicated to Rääts and written by composers who have studied with him: Avi Benjamin, Raimo Kangro, Tõnis Kaumann, Mihkel Kerem, Kerri Kotta, Tõnu Kõrvits, Vsevolod Pozdejev, Timo Steiner and Erkki-Sven Tüür. Nicolas Horvàth premiered many of these works with dedication to Rääts at a concert on October 9, 2016 in an old cinema building in Ebersberg, Germany. Some of these works, however, will be premiered here at the Estonian Music Days. Horvàth’s programme at the Estonian Music Days will also include the first performance of Jaan Rääts’s Piano Sonata.

Jaan Rääts’ (b. 1932) list of compositions is incredibly long and his compositional style is characterized as whimsical and rhythm-focused. Rääts has mainly composed instrumental music, including great amount of piano works. Rääts’s student and long-time friend Raimo Kangro describes the composer as following: “What is fascinating in Jaan Rääts’s music? Perhaps the way he tells the listener: you live, live this only, occasional, wonderful and meaningless time. What is fascinating in Jaan Rääts himself? Perhaps his independence from the great idol – fashion.”

Nicolas Horvàth is widely known for his large-scale programmes that often last for multiple hours. Most recenty, he has perfomed and recorded works by Erik Satie and Philip Glass. Horvàth’s repertoire is very diverse and includes romantic works by Ferenc Liszt and Fryderyk Chopin, late-romantic works by Alexander Scriabin and Erik Satie (for instance, his 18-hour-long work “Vexations”) as well as contemporary works by Philip Glass and other modern composers. Horvàth has premiered over 120 works.

Nicolas Horvàth has a special relationship with Jaan Rääts’s music. Horvàth is especially devoted to promoting Rääts’s music all around the globe. He has performed Rääts’s works at many of his concerts, including at the final concert of EXPO Milan 2015 as well as at the ceremony marking Estonia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. Horvàth’s recent performance at Carnegie Hall featured all Philip Glass’s piano preludes – performed for the first time as a whole cycle during one concert by one pianist – and thirteen other composers’ new works, including Jaan Rääts’s piano prelude. Horvàth has been organising orchestral concerts with Rääts’s music and maintains Rääts’s website www.jaanraats.com.

Visit the event on Sunday, 09.04 at 13.00
More information available here.

In collaboration with French Institute of Estonia