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Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, March 2020

The playing and conducting are refined and sympathetic. Ondine’s recording does the music full justice. © 2020 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Phillip Scott
Limelight, February 2020

A quartet of rediscovered gems from an Estonian master.

Olari Elts and the Estonian National Orchestra give vital, compelling performances, and the recording quality is vivid. If you want to delve into Eller, start here. © 2020 Limelight Read complete review

The Arts Desk, February 2020

A bewitching disc, wonderfully played and recorded. © 2020 The Arts Desk

Michel Stockhem
Diapason, February 2020

Little reverberation acoustically and particularly robust… harmoniously deep. Warm orchestral colour and instrumental timbre. A beautiful, remarkably homogeneous mix… Hats off! © 2020 Diapason

Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, January 2020

Ondine’s traversal of orchestral music by Heino Eller (18871970), in the company of Olari Elts with the Estonian National Symphony and having already seen fine new accounts of the Second Symphony and Violin Concerto (1/19), continues with this disc of symphonic poems.

…The greater refinement of playing and sensitivity of Elts’s readings are their own justification. Certainly no one coming to this music afresh will be disappointed by what is on offer here. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Barker
MusicWeb International, December 2019

Four atmospheric and lyrical poems from the Estonian Heino Eller, in glowing performances. This is Ondine’s second release of Eller’s orchestral works under the baton of Olari Elts in the last twelve months. I’m certainly hopeful that there will be more, including the hitherto unrecorded first symphony. © 2019 MusicWeb International

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2019

This is Ondine’s second CD with works by Estonian composer Heino Eller (1887-1970). The first had received a very good review in Pizzicato. The musician, trained as a violinist and composer, mainly composed instrumental music. His tone poems, of which Night Calls and White Night are currently not to be found on any other CD, contain national elements, but are also influenced by Impressionism and Expressionism. The four works on this CD were written between 1917 and 1939 and are real tone poems. Their fine orchestration and the beautiful orchestral colours lead the Estonian National Orchestra to an evocative music-making full of atmosphere.The orchestra’s playing is brilliant, elegant and refined at the same time. Thus the performances have a tremendous presence, which is further enhanced by the extraordinarily well-balanced recorded sound. © 2019 Pizzicato

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, October 2019

Ondine has been doing great things on behalf of Heino Eller of late. Their recent Violin Concerto disc alerted one to the excellence of Olari Elts’ direction and now it’s reprised in the latest offering that covers the compositional years between 1918 and 1939.

The performances are cast in the same stirring and generous mould… Add this to your Eller collection without delay. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2019

Heino Eller’s life ran in parallel with Sibelius, both creating in their homeland a new national style of composition, though they were both musically educated abroad.

Listen to this new release to appreciate how that similarity continues, the northern coldness we find in Sibelius’s tone poems—the Finnish composer born twenty-two years earlier in 1865—is here ever present. Eller, however, was not so prolific, spending much of his time creating a new Estonian generation with Eduard Tubin and Arvo Part among a long list of pupils. His own early years were spent studying in St. Petersburg, though very little influence from there remained in his music. The disc contains four descriptive tone poems whose titles would appear a natural progression, though they were not composed in that order, twenty-one years separating the four scores, and though in the era of the Second Viennese School, he remained wedded to tonality. Beginning chronologically with Twilight, a very short work of infinite charm dating from 1917, its textures so delicate that it requires little more than a chamber orchestra. Its first performance the following year coinciding with the completion of a work for piano, Dawn. In eight linked sections, two years later he orchestrated the score to form a graphic picture of a dawning day, the full weight of the orchestra creating the beauty of the picture before us. That same year he began work on Night Calls, the idea, Eller once claimed, depicting a storm he had witnessed. Whatever the aegis, it is a powerful orchestral score superbly scored. In seven very contrasting sections lasting not far short of thirty minutes, and completed in 1939, White Night is justly considered one of his masterpieces. Hugely persuasive and detailed performances from the much travelled Estonian conductor, Olari Elts, in a wide dynamic recording. © 2019 David’s Review Corner

Records International, October 2019

Three tone poems from 1917-21, mildly modernist, and a half-hour “Symphonic Suite” from 1939 (White Night), more in the National Romantic corner, make up Ondine’s second volume of works by this Estonian composer. © 2019 Records International

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