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Arvo Pärt (b.1935)

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Pärt - Da Pacem

Pärt - Da Pacem


Pärt:

Da pacem Domine

Salve Regina

Littlemore Tractus

An den Wassern

Dopo la vittoria

Nunc dimittis

Magnificat

2 Slavonic Psalms


Nine sacred pieces by Arvo Pärt including some of his newest compositions alongside works from earlier in his career. Pärt's longtime collaborator and biographer Paul Hillier leads the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and organist Christopher Browers-Broadbent in a third recording devoted to the Estonian composer.

“a miracle of deceptive simplicity.” The Times

“The Estonian Chamber Choir under Paul Hillier sings everything with near miraculous precision and delicate dedication… an aural delight.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2006 ****

“This collection showcases four compositions from this decade alongside some earlier works, most of which have been revised, as is Pärt's habit, within the past 15 years. While his methodology has remained much the same, Pärt admitted a greater harmonic and textural richness over that period, and this relative lushness is superbly realised by the EPC Choir without ever betraying the fundamental asceticism of Pärt's sound.
The album opens with the most recent piece, Da pacem Domine (2004), a typical work not least because of its slow harmonic speed coupled with increasingly intense light and colour. It contrasts with Salve regina (2001-2) which, as Hillier comments, could almost be 'a dream sequence from a film about a peasant community' in the early passages. Indeed, at first hearing one could almost confuse it with something Preisner might have written for Kieslowski, although there are enough characteristic chords and intervals to mark it out as Pärt. The Psalms (1984), with their unusually strong Slavonic tinge, again show the variety Pärt can achieve within restricted means. As always, Hillier and his colleagues have done Pärt proud. This beautiful release is another compelling illustration of the emotional and textural intensity central to the composer's art.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Given the strict limits on the material and techniques that Pärt permits himself, it is remarkable that his work continues to sound fresh and original. This beautiful release is another compelling illustration of the emotional and textural intensity central to his art. As always, Hillier and his colleagues have done Pärt proud.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - Awards Issue 2006

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Harmonia Mundi - HMU907401

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Pärt - Fratres, Passio & Berliner Messe

Pärt - Fratres, Passio & Berliner Messe


Pärt:

Fratres for string orchestra and percussion

Fratres for Violin, Strings & Percussion

Festina Lente

Fratres for String Quartet

Fratres for Cello & Piano

Summa

Fratres for Eight Cellos

Fratres for Wind Octet and Percussion

arr. B. Brinner

Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

Passio (St John Passion)

Robert Macdonald (bass) & Mark Anderson (tenor)

Tonus Peregrinus, Antony Pitts

Berliner Messe

Elora Festival Singers & Orchestra, Noël Edison

Cantate Domine canticum novum (Psalm 95)

Elora Festival Singers & Orchestra, Noël Edison

Magnificat

Elora Festival Singers & Orchestra, Noël Edison

De profundis

Elora Festival Singers & Orchestra, Noël Edison

The Beatitudes

Elora Festival Singers & Orchestra, Noël Edison


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Naxos - 8503199

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Pärt - In Principio

Pärt - In Principio


Pärt:

In principio for choir & orchestra

premiere recording

La Sidone for orchestra

premiere recording

Cecilia, vergine romana for mixed choir and orchestra

premiere recording

Da pacem Domine

Mein weg hat Gipfel und Wennentaler

Für Lennart in memoriam for string orchestra

premiere recording


In recent years Arvo Pärt has written some significant works for larger forces mostly commissioned by major institutions for celebratory occasions. Most impressive is the dramatic 25-minute In Principio (2003) for mixed choir and symphony orchestra which sets to music the famous opening of St John’s gospel, “In principio erat Verbum”. In its five movements, “tintinnabuli” diatonicism is contrasted with sophisticated harmonic procedures, massive brass chords are juxtaposed with almost stoic calm in the choir. The purely orchestral La Sindone (The holy shroud), a highly expressive piece which mirrors the shroud’s symbolic shine-through effects in delicate string textures, was premièred in Turin at the 2006 Winter Olympics whereas Caecilia, vergine romana for mixed choir and orchestra was a commission for Rome’s jubilee in 2000. Da pacem Domine, one of Pärt’s most serenely beautiful pieces, responded in a very subtle way to the 2004 terror attacks in Madrid’s Atocha station. The piece, heard a cappella on the 2005 ECM release Lamentate, appears in an even more beautiful version for choir and strings. Two instrumental compositions complete the CD: the rhythmically energetic Mein Weg and Für Lennart in memoriam, a still piece in homage to late Estonian president Lennart Georg Meri.

The exemplary interpretations, displaying great clarity and sensitivity, by some of the best Pärt experts (among them noted conductor Tõnu Kaljuste, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir - which he directed from its foundation in 1981 until 2001 - and the country’s leading orchestra, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra) were recorded in Estonia with the assistance of the composer and will surely be one of the strongest 2009 releases on ECM.

“Recent compositions, while not relinquishing the ethereal beauty we associate with Pärt, have seemed less confident in their serenity… A sense of anxiety pervades the oldest piece… Mein Weg… and sometimes, as with In Principio and La Sindone, there are episodes of almost bruising physicality which is a little shocking in the context of Pärt's mature music.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2009 *****

“Superbly performed and recorded, this CD is self-recommending to anyone interested in Pärt's recent work and his tentative ways forward from doctrinaire schematicisim.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2009

“Tonu Kaljuste conducts lustrous singing and playing of these and three shorter works, which include a moving response to the Madrid bombings.” Sunday Times, 19th April 2009 ****

“The little string elegy Für Lennart in Memoriam, composed for the funeral of the Estonian president in 2006, is the most convincing piece here: eloquent in a simple, undemonstrative way, nostalgic without being mawkish, touching without being sentimental.” The Guardian, 17th April 2009 ***

“These recent works demonstrate a certain expansion in Pärt's horizons. They still dwell in the niche of lapidary minimalism, but while they keep faith with his trademark 'tintinnabulatory' style, they now use it with flexibility and flow.
The dramatic directness of In principio, at 20 minutes the longest work on this CD, has one thinking of Janácek or even the Icelander Jón Leifs, not to speak of its candidly neo- Bachian progressions; exhilaration emanates from this score, along with piety and lamentation.
Of the other works for chorus and orchestra, Cecilia, vergine romana commemorates in more restrained terms the martyrdom of the third-century Roman noblewoman adopted 1200 years later as the patron saint of music, while the five-minute Da pacem Domine is a statuesque tribute to the victims of the 2004 Madrid terrorist bombings.
La Sindone ('The Shroud'), for trumpet, trombone, four percussionists and strings, leaves more room for listeners to find their own symbolic meaning in its frequent silences. Mein Weg ('My Path'), for 14 strings and percussion, is nothing to do with autobiography but a response to an extract from the French-Jewish poet Edmond Jabès's Livre des questions concerning the vissicitudes of life, and the disc ends with an austere memorial to Lennart Meri, president of Estonia from 1992 to 2001. Superbly performed and recorded”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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ECM New Series - 4766990

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Pärt - Music for Unaccompanied Choir

Pärt - Music for Unaccompanied Choir


Pärt:

Triodion

Tribute to Caesar

(St Matthew 22, 15-22)

Nunc dimittis

(St Luke 2, 29-32)

Ode VII (Memento)

from Kanon Pokajanen

I am the true vine

The Woman With The Alabaster Box

(St Matthew 26, 6-13)

Dopo la vittoria

(After the Victory)

Bogoróditse Djévo


“…it's the purity of the Canadian Elora Festival Singers' sound that strikes the ear here. In Dopo la vittoria… the climax… has a radiance and a wonderful sense of gradual repose that is well worth waiting for.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2006 ****

“…the most recent piece here - the Nunc dimittis (2001), commissioned for St Mary's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh and seen by some as an inevitable if long-delayed response to Part's Magnificat (1989) - still displays his characteristic purity of sound and austere methodology, which are realised with great sensitivity by the Elora Singers...This fine choir are fully in tune with Pärt's ripening music.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2006

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Naxos - 8570239

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Pärt - Tabula Rasa

Pärt - Tabula Rasa


Pärt:

Festina Lente

Summa

Fratres for string orchestra and percussion

Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

Tabula Rasa

Collage on B-A-C-H


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BIS - BISCD834

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Pärt - Triodion

Pärt - Triodion


Pärt:

Nunc dimittis

... which was the Son of ...

I am the true vine

Littlemore Tractus

Triodion

My Heart's in the Highlands

David James (countertenor)

Salve Regina

Dopo la vittoria


“Meurig Bowen's notes observe that choral pieces composed in the 1990s suggested Pärt was moving into 'more complex, exotic harmonic territory'.
Some of his music began to give a glimpse of what was described as 'an attractively post- Minimalist aspect' of the composer's recent work.
All rather premature, perhaps, since, as Bowen acknowledges, Pärt subsequently returned to a more strictly diatonic, triadic approach.
Even so, the staccato, carol-like episodes bracketing Dopo La Vittoria, commissioned in 1991 and delivered in 1997, come as a shock, but the bulk of the piece is more recognisably by Pärt, and the Nunc dimittis, with its lovely, lambent solo part for soprano Elin Thomas, evoking Allegri's Miserere, assuages all doubts.
The idea of Pärt setting Burns might surprise, but My heart's in the Highlands, with its serene, Pachelbel-like organ line and pellucid vocal by countertenor David James, is a triumph. In the hymn-like Littlemore Tractus and Salve Regina, warm melodies and bursts of colourful chords mellow Pärt's sound without detracting from its sublime, ethereal beauty. Polyphony's performance is gorgeous.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2003

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Hyperion - CDA67375

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A Gaelic Blessing

A Gaelic Blessing


Bainton, E:

And I saw a new heaven

Brahms:

Geistliches Lied, Op. 30

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen (from Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45)

Burgon:

Nunc dimittis

Finzi:

My lovely one, Op. 27 No. 1

Franck, C:

Panis Angelicus

Goodenough, D:

I Will Sing With the Spirit

Henschel:

Tantum Ergo

Holst:

Nunc dimittis, H127

Jackson, F:

Father Eternal

Mawby:

Ave verum corpus

Mozart:

Ave verum corpus, K618

Owens, M:

Holy Trinity Blessing

Pärt:

De profundis

Rutter:

A Gaelic blessing

Tavener:

Song for Athene

Wesley, S S:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace


The first in a series of recordings with Matthew Owens and the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh (see this page and p. 45). Familiar sacred works and new choral music grace this release, which includes works by Franck, Brahms, Pärt, Finzi, Holst, Tavener, Mozart, Henschel and Wesley, some of them in world premiere recordings.

Best-loved sacred works and new choral music graces this stellar release from St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh led by Matthew Owens. Includes works by Franck, Brahms, Pärt, Finzi, Holst, Tavener, Mozart, Henschel, and Wesley.

“This recording is a real gem…the performance is always delicate but nonetheless abounding in richness” Choir & Organ

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Delphian - DCD34007

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Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament

Arvo Pärt: Adam’s Lament


Pärt:

Adam’s Lament for choir and string orchestra

Beatus Petronius

Salve Regina

Statuit ei Dominus

Alleluja Tropus for choir and string orchestra

L'Abbé Agathon for soprano, baritone, female choir and string orchestra

Tui Hirv (soprano) & Rainer Vilu (baritone)

Estonian Lullaby for female choir and string orchestra

Christmas Lullaby for female choir and string orchestra


Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis, Riga Sinfonietta, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tonu Kaljuste

Marshalling orchestral and choral forces under the direction of Tonu Kaljuste, this new Arvo Pärt album, produced by Manfred Eicher and realized, like all Pärt’s ECM discs, with the composer’s participation, is a major event. Sacred music predominates, by turns monumentally powerful and tenderly fragile.

Adam’s Lament is the main work, but all eight pieces are either premiere recordings or first recordings of new versions reworked by the composer. The other compositions are: Beatus Petronius for two choirs, eight woodwind instruments, tubular bells and strings; Salve Regina for choir, celesta and string orchestra; Statuit ei Dominus for two choirs, woodwinds and strings; Alleluia-Tropus for choir and string orchestra; L'Abbé Agathon for soprano, baritone, female choir and string orchestra. The album concludes with two beautiful lullabies – Estonian Lullaby and Christmas Lullaby – for female choir and string orchestra.

The title piece (commissioned by the cultural capital cities Istanbul and Tallin in 2010 and 2011) uses a poetic text by Silouan of Athos to emphasize our common heritage in the figure of Adam. When setting Adam’s Lament which, for Pärt, has great poetic, expressive power with its central message of love and humility, the composer internalised Silouan’s words completely; they determined the substance and structure of the text (sung in ecclesial Slavic), its punctuation, number of syllables and accentuation of the music down to the smallest detail. “That perfect melding caused me somehow to think less of a work of art when I was composing.”

Tonu Kaluste is one of the outstanding interpreters of his countryman’s music. No other conductor has his gift for allowing Pärt’s works to breathe so freely in the choirs and orchestras he leads. He has already recorded many of Pärt’s pieces for ECM with the two ensembles he founded, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Other important interpreters of Pärt here include the Riga Sinfonietta, the Latvian Radio Choir, and Vox Clamantis, with its wide repertoire, from medieval to modern.

“[Adam's Lament is] an absorbing, meditative piece, if less beholden than usual to the composer's technique of tintinnabullation.” The Independent, 13th October 2012 ****

“The mix of Orthodox-style chant, ethereal string writing and block-like vocal writing amalgamates Pärt's most familiar styles, but the whole has more contrast and colour than usual. In this world premiere recording, the Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis and Sinfonietta Riga perform with admirable commitment.” The Observer, 28th October 2012

“[Adam's Lament] sounds like an invigorating departure for this composer. The forces involved are more extravagant than usual, and Pärt’s previously spare orchestral writing feels full of colour, if typically muted...Immaculate, full-blooded performances under Tönu Kaljuste, and typically wondrous ECM sound.” The Arts Desk, 17th November 2012

“It's one of the most captivating performances of the work that I've heard, with singing of the highest polish - the Latvian Radio Choir and the Sinfonietta Riga achieve a fastidious balance, with every last detail ringing out.” International Record Review, December 2012

“Adam's Lament serves as a summary of Pärt's evolution since he abandoned Modernist tendencies...The Radio Choir and Vox Clamantis affectingly convey anguished hopes for redemption while maintaining a pure, beautifully-balanced sound that evokes Pärt's underlying beliefs.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013

“From the powerful opening gesture based on a series of plagal cadences to a foreboding final section, Adam's Lament encompasses a diverse and at times exhilarating range of dissonance and consonant moods.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2013

“This is an Arvo Pärt release which has everything going for it: superb music superlatively performed and recorded in the atmosphere in which it was created...the whole thing, and certain moments in particular, make me shed a tear of awe and respect - refreshed in the knowledge that we can still create generously wondrous things from mean-tempered scales.” MusicWeb International, March 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - January 2013

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2014

Choral Finalist

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ECM New Series - 4764825

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Arvo Pärt - Alina

Arvo Pärt - Alina


Pärt:

Spiegel im Spiegel

Vladimir Spivakov (violin), Sergei Berzodny (piano)

Für Alina

Alexander Malter (piano)

Spiegel im Spiegel

Dietmar Schwalke (cello), Alexander Malter (piano)

Für Alina

Alexander Malter (piano)

Spiegel im Spiegel

Vladimir Spivakov (violin), Sergei Berzodny (piano)


ALINA offers an unusually pure distillation of Arvo Pärt's mature music, distinguished by what the composer refers to as the 'tintinnabuli style' in which simple scalar melodic phrases are suspended over slowly repeated triadic arpeggios to create a timeless sense of enfolding movement. The disc itself has an enfolding structure--three performances of 'Spiegel im Spiegel' (Mirror in Mirror) are separated by two performances of 'Für Alina'--creating a hall of mirrors to mimic the symmetry of the music, and giving the proceedings as a whole a potent and sustained atmosphere of meditative ritual. As the central performance of 'Spiegel' is of a version for cello, the overall form of the ritual is ABCBA, a perfect arch through which to see the delicate geometry within. This is a notable case of programming in which the whole is made much greater than the sum of its parts.

“Vladimir Spivakov, particularly, is breathtaking in his two performances of Spiegel im Spiegel, his control of tone and carefully considered use of vibrato adding greatly to the poignancy of the music.” BBC Music Magazine

Presto Disc of the Week

14th February 2008

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ECM New Series - 4499582

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Arvo Pärt - A Portrait

Arvo Pärt - A Portrait


Includes:

Pärt:

Für Alina

Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten

Fratres for Cello & Piano

Magnificat

Summa

The Beatitudes

Annum per annum (K-G-C-S-A)

Fratres for string orchestra and percussion

Collage on B-A-C-H

Cello Concerto 'Pro et contra'

Cantate Domine canticum novum (Psalm 95)

Spiegel im Spiegel

for violin & piano

Triodion

plus extracts from other works


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Naxos Educational - A Portrait - 8558182-83

(CD - 2 discs)

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