Notes and Editorial Reviews
Beatus Petronius. Salve regina.
Statuit ei Dominus.
Tõnu Kaljuste, cond;
Latvian R Ch;
Tui Hirv (sop);
Rainer Vilu (bs);
Estonian P C Ch;
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)
, 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
At times we hear austere chant, which may suddenly erupt in choral
Statuit ei Dominus
). At other times there is the bare-boned counterpoint of neomedievalism (
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
, and an accompaniment of cellos that is like a viol consort in
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
Works on This Recording
Adam's Lament by Arvo Pärt
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir,
Latvian Radio Choir,
Vox Clamantis Ensemble
Salve regina by Arvo Pärt
Period: 20th Century
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