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Part: Adam's Lament

Release Date: 10/30/2012 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 001759102  
Composer:  Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian Philharmonic Chamber ChoirLatvian Radio ChoirVox Clamantis Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PÄRT Adam’s Lament. 1,2,3 Beatus Petronius. Salve regina. 1,3 Statuit ei Dominus. 1,2,3 Alleluia-Tropus. 2,3 L’Abbé Agathon. 4,5,6,7 Estonian Lullaby. 6,7 Christmas Lullaby 6,7 Tõnu Kaljuste, cond; Read more 1 Latvian R Ch; 2 Vox Clamantis; 3 Sinfonietta Riga; 4 Tui Hirv (sop); 5 Rainer Vilu (bs); 6 Estonian P C Ch; 7 Tallinn C O ECM 476 4825 (66:00 Text and Translation)

I’ve always been an admirer of Arvo Pärt’s music, and certain works I love. But also, at times I’ve started to feel a little burnout with successive releases, which recycle a certain sober, austere, mystical mood. Thus it’s with great pleasure that I can recommend this disc unqualifiedly. It is a complete success, and has some of the composer’s most satisfying music that I’ve heard in quite some time. The reasons for this are:

First, the pieces are quite varied, despite all being clearly from the hand of the same creator. The largest work (over 20 minutes) Adam’s Lament , was a joint 2010 commission of the cities of Istanbul and Tallinn, setting a text by the monk Staretz Silouan (1866-1938), and in keeping with its circumstances, seems to use melodic Middle Eastern modes more than I’m accustomed to in Pärt. But then the disc ends with two lullabies that in their gentle folksiness seem almost like Ländler. At times we hear austere chant, which may suddenly erupt in choral tutti (as Statuit ei Dominus ). At other times there is the bare-boned counterpoint of neomedievalism ( Alleluia-Tropus ). In Salve regina I hear a fullness of harmony and texture that reminds me of Brahms. So the expressive and technical range is satisfyingly broad.

Second, the pacing of all these works has a rightness, no matter how long or short they are. Pärt has truly mastered the control of how any given sound or ensemble fits its proper temporal space, and the rate at which it unfolds. This is one thing that gives the work a quality for which we use words like “natural” and “inevitable”.

Third, the orchestration is masterful. It never stands out unduly, the sound is very full and blended, even when scored for chamber orchestra (again, a Brahmsian virtue). And yet there are also very special touches; examples being more string harmonics and pizzicato than I remember from earlier works, subtle chime tolls in Beatus Petronius , and an accompaniment of cellos that is like a viol consort in L’Abbé Agathon.

Finally, it’s gorgeously performed and recorded. This release has the best possible balance between ECM’s emphasis on highly reverberant acoustics and a clarity that serves the music in its detail. Early in the season, but a Want List contender.

FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

Adam's Lament by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Tönu Kaljuste
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir,  Latvian Radio Choir,  Vox Clamantis Ensemble  ... 
Written: 2009 
Statuit ei Dominus by Arvo Pärt
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Germany 
Salve regina by Arvo Pärt
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002 
Beatus Petronius by Arvo Pärt
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990; Germany 
L'abbé Agathon by Arvo Pärt
Written: 2008 
Wiegenlieder (2) by Arvo Pärt

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