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Very Best Of Arvo Part

Very Best Of Arvo Part / Various
Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 29443   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Tasmin LittleMartin RoscoeDavid GoodeRobert Aldwinckle,   ... 
Conductor:  Paavo JärviJeremy BackhouseRichard StudtStephen Cleobury,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian National Symphony OrchestraVasari SingersChilingirian String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 34 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I did not have high hopes of a set called "The Very Best of Arvo Part". In fact it far exceeded expectations. It was released to celebrate the 75th birthday of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt in September 2010.

In 1980 Pärt emigrated to Austria but returned to Estonia to live in Tallinn in the early 2000s. His pre-Austria works were woven from serialism but from the 1970s onwards his music adopted the so-called Read more "Tintinnabuli Style" characterised by tonality, medieval monastic character, minimalist use of material, plainchant, bell-sounds, iterative cells and a deep reverence. EMI tell us that Pärt and Gorecki are the best-selling living composers of the last twenty years.

As a collection I do not see this being bettered at any price. It offers access to the accessible mystic Pärt. There's nothing here of the tougher segment of his catalogue. For that you can turn, for example, to the Bis CD of his three symphonies. His Fourth Symphony premiered in San Francisco, and just released on ECM, is firmly in the mysticism and minimalism camp.

Pärt stands as a high priest of a once-new simplicity - achieving enlightenment through chant-based cells and mantra-like repetition. You can hear this in Summa and the Magnificat Anthems in choral dress (Vasari Singers). It’s also in the warmer "Three Choirs" glow of Magnificat and Beatitudes as sung in English by King's College, Cambridge. These two pieces do in fact have a greater sense of the longer narrative line. The set also exemplifies the composer's openness to adapting a piece written in one instrumental format into another. Thus Summa and Fratres appear in three versions - an almost Grainger-like profusion of variants. The music in whatever form has a meditative and reverent mien - never a chuckle; no satire, simple sincerity often of a Tallis-like concentration as in Fratres. This is even more evident in the version for full strings on CD 1 (Paavo Järvi). In fact those who look for more of the tense spirituality of the RVW Tallis Fantasia must hear this work in this performance. They will almost certainly be just as captivated by the superb Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977) with its slow shift-sliding violins and over-arching tolling bell. Summa in its version for full string orchestra benefits from plush acoustic and generous forces. I should add that the Chilingirian also make Summa and Fratres their own, inhabiting the music to its full extent.

The set is rounded out with a sequence in which we hear organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ) with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tonu Kaljuste. Kaljuste has also been a champion of the more robust rustic choral music of Veljo Tormis who taught Part. There's a touch of Tormis in the uncharacteristically vigorous Cantate Domino - a rare stylistic link with Rutter. In Beatus Petronius those honey-razored vocal stabs recall Allegri's Miserere. The Missa Syllabica closes the disc with a sequence of the barest simplicity. Yet in its second movement the greatest beauty is achieved. The fourth movement amounts to a choral fanfare - one of great majesty.

These works are all done with great dedication, head bowed as it were. Listen to the Festina Lente as an example. Spiegel im Spiegel is, to be crass, Part's "greatest hit" and here it is most attentively and movingly performed by Tasmin Little and Martin Roscoe. Tabula Rasa is not quite as mysteriously done as it might have been but interesting to hear the trilling echoes of Bach and Schnittke among the meditative repetitive cells.

I did not have high hopes of a set called "The Very Best of Arvo Part". In fact it does very well indeed. We are presented with complete works and with those that command a worldwide following.

The far better than merely useful note by Andrew Stewart sets the scene strongly. A pleasure that his essay does not neglect the very works such as Nekrolog that do not make it into anthologies such as this.

This set will certainly please anyone who admires Gorecki, Tavener or Macmillan. More directly still it will gratify those adventurers who, enthralled by RVW's Tallis or Barber's Adagio, would like to spread their wings without danger of anything tremendously harsh on the ear.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Summa by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; Estonia 
Venue:  All Saints Church, Petersham, Surrey, En 
Length: 4 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Magnificat Antiphons (7) by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988/1991 
Venue:  Church of St Giles, Cripplegate, London 
Length: 11 Minutes 30 Secs. 
3.
Fratres by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977-1980; Estonia 
Venue:  All Saints Church, Petersham, Surrey, En 
Length: 11 Minutes 21 Secs. 
4.
Festina lente by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Richard Studt
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988-1990; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Abbey Church, Milton Abbey School, Bland 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
5.
Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Tasmin Little (Violin), Martin Roscoe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; USSR 
Venue:  Abbey Church, Milton Abbey School, Bland 
Length: 8 Minutes 16 Secs. 
6.
Magnificat by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  David Goode (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Germany 
Venue:  Chapel of King's College, Cambridge 
Length: 6 Minutes 22 Secs. 
7.
The Beatitudes by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  David Goode (Organ)
Conductor:  Stephen Cleobury
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990/1991; Germany 
Venue:  Chapel of King's College, Cambridge 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
8.
Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; Estonia 
Venue:  Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn 
Length: 6 Minutes 48 Secs. 
9.
Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Tasmin Little (Violin), Robert Aldwinckle (Harpsichord), Richard Studt (Violin)
Conductor:  Richard Studt
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; Estonia 
Venue:  Abbey Church, Milton Abbey School, Bland 
Length: 27 Minutes 15 Secs. 
10.
De profundis by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Aarne Talvik (), Vilve Hepner (), Mati Turi (),
Tiit Kogermann (), Kaia Urb (), Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ)
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977-1980; Estonia 
Venue:  All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, 
Length: 5 Minutes 34 Secs. 
11.
Cantate Domino by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Aarne Talvik (), Tiit Kogermann (), Mati Turi (),
Vilve Hepner (), Kaia Urb (), Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ)
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; Estonia 
Venue:  All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
12.
Solfeggio by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Tiit Kogermann (), Kaia Urb (), Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ),
Vilve Hepner (), Mati Turi (), Aarne Talvik ()
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Estonia 
Venue:  All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
13.
Missa sillabica by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ), Mati Turi (), Vilve Hepner (),
Tiit Kogermann (), Aarne Talvik (), Kaia Urb ()
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; Estonia 
Venue:  All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
14.
Beatus Petronius by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ), Vilve Hepner (), Kaia Urb (),
Mati Turi (), Aarne Talvik (), Tiit Kogermann ()
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Germany 
Venue:  All Hallows' Church, Gospel Oak, London, 
Length: 5 Minutes 9 Secs. 
15.
Summa by Arvo Pärt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; Estonia 
16.
Summa by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Levon Chilingirian (Violin), Charles Sewart (Violin), Philip De Groote (Cello),
Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1978; Estonia 
Date of Recording: 07/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
17.
Fratres by Arvo Pärt
Performer:  Charles Sewart (Violin), Levon Chilingirian (Violin), Simon Rowland-Jones (Viola),
Philip De Groote (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chilingirian String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977-1980; Estonia 
Date of Recording: 07/1993 
Venue:  All Saints' Church, Petersham, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 53 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Summa (1977) for choir
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Weisheit
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Adonai
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Spross aus Isais Wurzel
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Schlüssel Davids
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Morgenstern
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O König aller Völker
Seven Magnificat Antiphons (1988, rev. 1991): O Immanuel
Fratres (1980 version) for violin and piano
Festina lente for string orchestra and harp
Spiegel im Spiegel for violin and piano
Magnificat (1989)
The Beatitudes (1990, rev. 1991)
Summa for string orchestra
Fratres for string orchestra and percussion
Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten for string orchestra and bell
Tabula rasa for two violins, string orchestra and prepared piano: Ludus (with movement)
Tabula rasa for two violins, string orchestra and prepared piano: Silentium (without movement)
Summa
Fratres
De profundis (1980), for chorus, organ and percussion
Cantate Domino
Beatus Petronius
Solfeggio
Missa syllabica: I. Kyrie
Missa syllabica: II. Gloria
Missa syllabica: III. Credo
Missa syllabica: IV. Sanctus
Missa syllabica: V. Agnus Dei
Missa syllabica: VI. Ite, missa est

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