- Mart Humal
(b Tartu, March 7, 1887; d Tallinn, June 16, 1970). Estonian composer. He studied composition at the Petrograd (now St Petersburg) Conservatory (1913–15, 1919–20), where his teachers included Kalafati, and later taught at the Tartu Higher Music School (1920–40) and the Tallinn Conservatory (1940–70). A number of his composition students, among them Tubin and Pärt, attained international prominence. His compositions, almost all of which are instrumental, combine characteristic features of early 20th-century styles with classical formal principles and elements of Estonian folk music. Rather than abandoning tonality, he enriched it with non-traditional idioms and structures; the northern colouring of his compositions makes his style most closely comparable to Impressionism.
Eller’s early works, which show the influence of Grieg, Debussy and Skryabin, mark the beginning of a new development in Estonian music. To Romantic nationalism, the predominant style of the period, Eller added an impressionistic sound, heard in the tone poems ...