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Mart Saar


Mart Saar
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Mart Saar (August 28, 1882 - October 28, 1963) was an Estonian composer.

Saar was born in the Estonian village of Hüpassaare to a family of forest keepers. He received his education at the village school in Kaansoo and the Suure-Jaani parish school. His music teacher at the Suure-Jaani parish school was Joosep Kapp, the father of Artur Kapp, another famous Estonian composer. Additionally, Saar’s father was a talented organist who gave him lessons at home.

In 1901, Saar left home to study music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He graduated in 1908 but chose to continue his studies. After his subsequent graduation in 1911, he became a music teacher in Tartu. Ten years later, in 1921, he moved to Tallinn, Estonia as a freelance composer and organist. He spent his summers in his native village, Hüpassaare.


Early in his career, Saar was influenced by the European music of the early 1800s.

Later in his life, Saar combined Estonian folk music with more contemporary sounds. He mixed vocals into his symphonies. In addition to composing, Saar also wrote lyrics to some of his songs. Usually, these lyrics express a love for Estonia and nature. They also address the brevity of life. Saar’s lyrics have been compared to the poetry of Anna Haava and Juhan Liiv.

Selected Works

Works for a mixed-gender choir include:

* Põhjavaim (Northern Spirit)
* Seitse Sammeldunud Sängi (Seven Moss-Clad Tombs)

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