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Arvo Part: A Portrait

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Audio CD, June 21, 2005
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Editorial Reviews


Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1 ('Polyphonic'), Op. 9: Second Movement
2. Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, for string orchestra & bell
3. Passio, for tenor, bass, vocal quartet, chorus, oboe, bassoon, violin, cello & organ: Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joan
4. Berliner Messe, for SATB chorus & string orchestra: Kyrie
5. Fratres, for cello & piano
6. Magnificat, for chorus
7. Summa, for string orchestra
8. Passio, for tenor, bass, vocal quartet, chorus, oboe, bassoon, violin, cello & organ: Unde es tu? Jesus autem responsum non dedit ei
9. Berliner Messe, for SATB chorus & string orchestra: Credo
10. The Beatitudes, for chorus & organ
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Fratres, for strings & percussion
2. Collage over B-A-C-H, for strings, oboe, harpsichord & piano: Toccata
3. Collage over B-A-C-H, for strings, oboe, harpsichord & piano: Sarabande
4. Collage over B-A-C-H, for strings, oboe, harpsichord & piano: Ricercare
5. Pro et contra, concerto for cello & orchestra: I. Maestoso
6. Pro et contra, concerto for cello & orchestra: II. Largo
7. Pro et contra, concerto for cello & orchestra: III. Allegro
8. Symphony No. 3: Third Movement
9. Cantate Domino, for SATB chorus or soloists & organ
10. Spiegel im Spiegel, for violin & piano
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Composer: Arvo Part
  • Audio CD (June 21, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos Educational
  • ASIN: B00093O6OY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,439 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Contemporary classical music which genuinely touches people is rare, but the rapt, contemplative music of Arvo Pärt communicates readily, and without pandering to the demands of a mass audience." -- Nick Kimberley

"It is enough when a single note is beautifully played." -- Arvo Pärt

These two comments shed light on Arvo Pärt, both the music and the man. An intensely private man who came of age in repressive Stalinist Soviet Estonia but who always maintained his stalwart religious beliefs, against all fashion, and who, though he started out as an avant-gardist, became the prophet of what has been called 'the new simplicity,' Arvo Pärt is perhaps the most beloved composer of classical music in the world. His music is known by people who have almost no interest otherwise in classical music, largely because of the effect it has on even the casual listener, as reflected in Nick Kimberley's comment above. It also has devoted followers among the musical cognoscenti. His piece 'Fratres,' in its myriad forms, is his most widely performed work, but it is probably his ecstatic 'Passio' that has created the most devoted following, particularly following its first recording by the Hilliard Ensemble on the ECM label.

This release has two CDs chockfull of unfailingly beautiful performances of Pärt's music, generally in complete movements taken from releases by Naxos and other labels. Such disparate works as his spare piano piece, 'Für Alina,' movements of his Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3, the 'Berliner Messe,' the 'Magnificat,' 'Collage über B-A-C-H,' 'Spiegel im Spiegel,' and 'Triodion,' are represented here. Two versions of 'Fratres' are included, one for cello and piano, the other for percussion and strings.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Naxos has never provided the best performances of the music of Arvo Part--the long line of ECM recordings were made under the composer's supervision and thus may be seen as definitive--but the collection ARVO PART: A PORTRAIT is a nice effort indeed. Issued in 2005, the year of the Estonian composer's 70th birthday, this package features selections from nearly his entire career over two discs, in recordings drawn from the Naxos, BIS, and Nimbus labels, and also contains a 78-page booklet with Nick Kimberley's essay "Arvo Part: A Musical Journey".

Arvo Part came to worldwide attention through the minimalistic and overtly spiritual music he began composing in the mid-1970s, but ARVO PART: A Portrait features some music from his early career as well. Part was something of an enfant terrible in the Soviet music world, and in the 1960s he infuriated the socialist realist musical establishment by producing dodecaphonic and collage works through the 1960s. From this era we get the second movement of the Symphony No. 1, the "Collage ueber B-A-C-H", and the cello concerto "Pro et Contra". One does regret, however, that his important piece "Credo", discussed at some length in Kimberley's piece, is not featured here, but perhaps Naxos could not find a recording that could be licensed for inclusion here.

The bulk of the collection, however, is dedicated to Part's "holy minimalism" output, a style which he calls "tintinnabuli" for its bell-like tones. Two selections from his hour-long masterpiece "Passio" are included here, one begin four minutes long and the other twelve. Of the "Berliner Messe" we have the Kyrie and Credo, and the other late pieces here are included full-length.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones on September 30, 2012
Format: Audio CD
This double CD features 19 works by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Some tracks have complete short works, like Für Alina, the Magnificat, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, a string setting of the Summa, The Beatitudes, two settings of the Fratres, Spiegel im Spiegel. Other tracks feature extracts of larger works, like movements from the 1st and 3rd Symphonies, the Berlin Mass, and two movements from the Passio. Most of Pärt's music is incredibly peaceful, beautiful, and spiritually captivating, even on first hearing. Other pieces however are atonal and take much more listening to get attuned to and I doubt if they would ever become accompaniments to spiritual meditation. But such pieces are in the minority here and there is so much on these CDs to spiritually uplift the listener. Because the tracks are taken from other Naxos CDs, there are various performers. Of the choral pieces though, I must mention the beautiful Elora Festival Singers from Toronto under the direction of their founder Noel Edison who perform on five tracks. There is great variety in the music here - instrumental, organ, strings, and choral to provide a most enjoyable selection. Well done Naxos for bringing these pieces together!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol Grove on May 27, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My daughter in law loved the CD. I have not heard this particular recording but soon will. Very inovative and a little mind expanding.
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