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RÄÄTS, JAAN (1932–2020)

Complete Piano Sonatas • 1

  • Nicolas Horvath, piano

Jaan Rääts has written prolifically for the piano and his ten sonatas, spanning half a century, reveal his sophisticated control of expressive gestures. The composer himself has said: “I don’t like rigid systems. I like absorbing musical material, filtering it, emotionally developing it as needed. Using it as a springboard for my imagination… ”

This recording was made on a modern instrument: Yamaha CF III S5816200


Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 76 (1985) (00:11:00 )
I. — (00:03:39)
II. — (00:02:08)
III. — (00:02:47)
Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 114 (2000) (00:06:08)
Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 11, No. 1 (1959) (00:11:11 )
I. Allegro (00:01:56)
II. Grave (00:06:18)
III. Allegro (00:02:59)
Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 11, No. 2 (1959) (00:11:14 )
I. Moderato (00:02:56)
II. Allegro (00:01:42)
III. Grave (00:04:32)
IV. Energico (00:02:06)
Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 11, No. 3 (1959) (00:06:45 )
I. Largo (00:01:45)
II. Allegro (00:00:48)
III. Adagio, recitative (00:02:18)
IV. Allegro (00:01:57)
Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 36, "Quasi Beatles" (1969) (00:07:21 )
I. — (00:02:18)
II. — (00:02:31)
III. — (00:02:38)
World Première Recording
Total Time: 00:51:26

The Artist(s)

Nicolas Horvath Nicolas Horvath began his music studies at Monaco’s Académie de Musique et de Théâtre Prince Rainier III and soon began to make an impression on a number of artists who would become his mentors. Aged 16 he caught the attention of the American conductor Lawrence Foster before coming to the notice of several distinguished international pianists, including Liszt specialist Leslie Howard. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including First Prize at both the Scriabin and the Luigi Nono International Competitions. He has become noted for hosting concerts of unusual length, sometimes lasting over twelve hours, such as the overnight performance of the complete piano music of Erik Satie at the Paris Philharmonie before a cumulative audience of 14,000 people. In 2019 he performed alongside Philip Glass at the same venue in a programme devoted to the American composer’s piano music. Horvath’s extensive and varied discography on Grand Piano includes the highly acclaimed Philip Glass solo piano music edition, Glassworlds; the complete piano works of Erik Satie; piano sonatas by the Estonian composer Jaan Rääts and music by the American experimental composer Alvin Lucier; Carl Czerny’s 30 Études; and lesser-known piano music by Claude Debussey, Anne-Louise Brillion de Jouy and Hélène de Montgeroult. Nicolas is a Steinway Artist.

The Composer(s)

The bulk of Rääts’ compositional output encompasses instrumental music, with ten symphonies and 24 concertos, an extensive catalogue of chamber music, and film scores. Rääts’ prolific body of work for piano includes the cycles 24 Preludes (1968), 24 Preludes to Estonian Folk Melodies (24 prelüüdi eesti rahvaviisidele, 1977), 24 Estonian Preludes (24 eesti prelüüdi, 1989), and three different series of miniatures entitled 24 Marginalia (24 marginaali – 1979 for piano solo, 1980 for electronics, and 1982 for two pianos). His ten piano sonatas span a half century of creativity, and are only just getting to be known to Western listeners.


“A recording that will please both connoisseurs of Estonian music and amateurs seeking new discoveries” – Crescendo


“Among his [Rääts’] works devoted to the piano, his ten sonatas stand out, undeservedly neglected, which French pianist Nicolas Horvath performs with passion, enthusiasm and verve… ” – ResMusica.com

“Nicholas Horvath seems in masterly command of Råäts’ often dark yet gleaming materials whether in propulsion or in the hypnotic doldrums.” – MusicWeb International

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