Eduard Tubin`s large number of works is diverse. Although Tubin has written music of almost any genre, he is, first and foremost, known as a a remarkable symphonist. His works are traditionally divided into two parts – Estonian period and Swedish period.

Estonian period (1926–1944)

The first creative experiments were undertaken while studying at Tartu Teachers Seminary – pieces for the piano and solo songs. Studies with Heino Eller perfected significantly his musical handwriting and he composed several important works – Suite on Estonian Themes for the orchestra, Piano Sonata No 1, a number of songs for the choir and instrumental pieces.

Tubin was ready for composing his Symphony No 1, the fourth one in Estonian music history, in 1934. His masterpiece of the Estonian period is the Second Symphony called Legendary which deals with heroic legends and ancient struggles for freedom. His Third and Fourth Symphonies were composed in the time of war as was the first ballet Kratt, which is based on Estonian folk poetry. At the end of his Estonian period, Tubin had become one of the most renowned and esteemed Estonian composers.

Swedish period (1945–1982)

After leaving for Sweden, Tubin completed his Symphony No 5 in 1946, which enjoyed great international success. This was followed by Violin Concerto No 2, Concerto for the Double Bass, Sonata No 2 The Northern Lights, Balalaika Concerto, new symphonies, etc. Several Tubin`s works were performed by Estonian musicians – Olav Roots, Käbi Laretei, Zelia Aumere.

When Kratt was staged in Theatre Vanemuine in 1961, Tubin visited Estonia. The renewed relations with local musicians led to the writing of two of Tubin`s operas – Barbara von Tiesenhusen and The Parson of Reigi. In spite of the opposition of local authorities, Estonian performers found opportunities to play Tubin`s music in concert halls. In 1979, Tubin completed his vocal symphonic Requiem for Fallen Soldiers, but the premiere did not take place before 10 years passed...


• 18 orchestral compositions, including 10 symphonies
• 5 instrumental concerts, among others 2 concertos for the violin, a Concertino for the Piano and Orchestra, Concertos for the Double Bass and the Balalaika Concerto
• 2 vocal symphonic pieces – Inauguration Cantata, Requiem for Fallen Soldiers
• 31 pieces for the piano, including 2 sonatas, a sonatina and 14 preludes
• 13 pieces for the violin (solo, with the piano and orchestra)
• 7 pieces for various instruments and chamber orchestras
• 22 solo songs with the piano and orchestra
• 24 choir songs