Heino Kaski, Master Miniaturist

Review by: Jed Distler


Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

If you’ve never heard of Heino Kaski (1885-1957) you’re not alone. Kaski primarily made his living as a music teacher in Helsinki, devoting his summer holidays to composing. His creative output largely consists of art songs and short piano pieces. The piano pieces may be modest in scope and ambition, yet they are long on communicative immediacy and melodic appeal. Imagine a conservatively modern updating of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces and you’ll get the idea, especially in regard to the fluttering right-hand patterns of Fairy at the Fountain and the Burleske, or the harmonic style of Ilta Venetsiassa. The C major Prelude Op. 46 No. 1 might be described as Beethoven’s Für Elise deconstructed by Sibelius at his most brooding. Had Tchaikovsky written a little piano piece as the main theme to a Fellini movie, it probably would have sounded like Kaski’s Chanson triste.

The music is not trite, nor is it convoluted, and not one note is wasted: all hallmarks of a master miniaturist. Janne Mertanen brings nobility and loving care to these 20 selections, playing beautifully at all times. Alba’s gorgeous sonics further enhance my recommendation.

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Recording Details:

Album Title: Yö Meren Rannalla
Reference Recording: This one

  • Janne Mertanen (piano)

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