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Part: Fur Anna Maria - Complete Piano Music / Jeroen Van Veen

Part / Van Veen,Jeroen
Release Date: 12/10/2013 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94775   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Jeroen Van Veen has released a series of acclaimed recordings on Brilliant Classics of music by the masters of Minimalism, that 1960s-derived aesthetic in which it is not so much the case that more can be said with less as that less seems to be necessary in an increasingly noisy and chaotic world. The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has never counted himself as among the minimalist number, nor indeed was he schooled in their new traditions, but emerged in the 1960s as an angry and dissonant voice whose musically expressed anger against Communist oppression of his native country could barely be contained within the tumultuous textures of works such as the Third Symphony, but a combination of personal circumstances and aesthetic decisions Read more led him to pare back his style to the world of eerie calm and yet underlying melancholy that has made works such as the Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten such an enduring favourite even among audiences who would not otherwise count themselves as aficionados of the European contemporary music scene. But then Pärt has never fitted into any one stylistic box, and alongside the quiet rapture of Für Alina we may find the student-era tinkling of the intriguing early Dance Pieces, as well as arrangements of classics such as Fratres and Spiegel im Spiegel that seem to preserve their special mood no matter what the instrumental forces; a quality they share with works of Pärt's compositional idol, J.S. Bach.

Other information:
- Recorded March 2013.
- This 2-CD set contains the complete music for piano, featuring the well known Spiegel im Spiegel, and "Für Alina" (not yet as popular as "Für Elise", but well on its way...).
- Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is a unique figure in the musical world. The utter simplicity of his works, inspired by his deep religious feelings, has a strange, hypnotic power over the listener. Confronted with the stark, naked and essential musical lines, one feels close to the inner truth of oneself and the other, a human bond which only music can bring.
- No wonder the music of Pärt, the cult figure, reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional classical audiences. Many recordings of Pärt achieve a bestselling status.
- Played by the champion of Minimal Music, Jeroen van Veen, who recorded for Brilliant Classics several collections of minimalist piano music, and the complete piano music of Philip Glass.
- Booklet note by Jeroen van Veen.

1 Für Alina (1976) 20'18
2 Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka (1977) 5'56
3 Ukuaru valss (1973, rev. 2010) 2'54
4 Für Anna Maria (2006) 1'21
5 Für Alina (1976) 2'42
6 Spiegel im Spiegel* (1978) 8'25
7 Pari intervallo* (1976, rev. 2008) 5'28
8 Hymn to a Great City* (1984, rev. 2004) 5'14
9 Fratres* (1977, rev. 1980) 11'26
10 Für Anna Maria (2006) 1'09
11 Für Alina (1976) 3'15

Total time 68'15

1--4 Vier leichte Tanzstücke 'Musik für Kindertheater' (1956--57) 7'39
5--7 Sonatina No.1 (1959) 7'16
8--10 Sonatina No.2 (1959) 5'42
11--14 Partita Op.2 (1958) 7'19
15 Für Alina (1976) 23'07

Total time 51'11

Jeroen van Veen, piano
*played on two pianos with Sandra van Veen

R E V I E W: 3752520.az_PART_Fur_Alina_Variationen.html

PÄRT Für Alina. Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka. Ukuaru valss. Für Anna Maria. Spiegel im Spiegel1. Pari intervallo1. Hymn to a Great City1. Fratres.1 Vier leichte Tanzstücke ‘Musik für Kindertheater.’ Sonatinas Nos. 1 and 2. Partita Jeroen van Veen, 1Sandra van Veen (pn) BRILLIANT 94775 (2 CDs: 119:22)

Critical listeners might complain that, although they are getting almost two hours of music in this newly-recorded collection, they are getting less than two hours of musical content. For example, Jeroen van Veen presents four versions of Für Alina. The first, which opens the disc, lasts 20:18, and subsequent presentations last 2:42, 3:15, and 23:07. Quoting from van Veen’s own booklet note, “The score […] is only two pages long. It gives the performer the possibility to repeat and play the same material in different octaves.” Thus, an infinite number of realizations is possible, and according to van Veen, “Pärt himself sometimes played it in a couple hours!” For some, given the work’s child-like simplicity (which can seem spiritual to receptive listeners, or like childish noodling to the unreceptive), this might be too much of a good thing. There is a precedent for this, however: the ECM New Series disc of this work, played by Alexander Malter, presents two realizations, each about 11 minutes long. Für Anna Maria, the work that gives van Veen’s compilation its title, also is presented in two versions, but each is under two minutes in length. Here, the difference is in tempo.

Für Alina was composed in 1976, and comes from the beginning of the composer’s mature style, also known as the “tintinnabuli” style, an allusion to its bell-like quality, which shares traits with modern-day Minimalism and music from the Renaissance era. All of the music on the second CD, with the exception of the last realization of Für Alina, is in Pärt’s less distinctive, less personal earlier style, which is full of Soviet influences, including, but not limited to, Shostakovich. For better or worse, it sounds like Gebrauchsmusik, although that does not mean that it lacks interest for the average listener.

Spiegel im Spiegel, Pari intervallo, Hymn to a Great City, and Fratres are played in unfamiliar two-piano versions by the pianist and his wife, Sandra. (They recorded Hymn to a Great City for their Minimal Piano Collection X-XX (Brilliant 9171), but this is a new and slightly longer version.) Those who are familiar with Pärt will be aware that several of his mature pieces exist in multiple versions anyway, and I will leave it up to those collectors to decide whether or not these two-piano versions add substantially to their knowledge of these works. The two van Veens certainly play them beautifully, and are attuned to the composer’s language.

The same goes for Jeroen van Veen’s solo recordings here. The mature works in this collection are pretty, note-frugal, and do not require much virtuosity (at least in terms of technique) from a pianist.

Van Veen makes each note into a “little bell.” He plays the music sensitively, and with a quiet intensity that holds a listener’s interest even over a span of more than 23 minutes. Given the duplicative tendencies of this recording, I find it difficult to give it a general recommendation, but I think Pärt’s admirers—of which there are many, myself included—will find it worthwhile.

FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
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Works on This Recording

Variations for Arinuschka's Recuperation by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; USSR 
Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; USSR 
Partita by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; Estonia 
Pari Intervallo by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976/1980; Estonia 
Hymn to a Great City by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Für Anna Maria by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2006; Estonia 
Notes: Different versions of this piece are heard on this album. 
Für Alina by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; Estonia 
Notes: Different versions of this piece are heard on this album. 
Fratres by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977-1980; Estonia 
Ukuaru valss by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia  
Vier leichte Tanzstücke 'Musik für Kindertheater' by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia  
Sonatina no 1 by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia  
Sonatina no 2 by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Jeroen van Veen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Estonia  

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 greatest cd of the year  October 6, 2014 By Gerard Willem van der Meiden (The Hague, Netherlands) See All My Reviews "This is a Delight from the beginning of cd 1 until the end of cd 2. A major discovery." Report Abuse
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