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Litany


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Audio CD, January 25, 2000
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Pärt: LitanyEstonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir22:47Album Only
listen  2. Pärt: PsalomSaulius Sondeckis 6:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Pärt: TrisagionSaulius Sondeckis12:04Album Only

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Litany + Part: Adam's Lament + Arvo Part: Te Deum
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Tõnu Kaljuste, Saulius Sondeckis
  • Composer: Arvo Pärt
  • Audio CD (January 25, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM New Series
  • ASIN: B000025QUG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,022 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

With Litany, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt created one of his most stirring works: a nearly 23-minute-long composition for orchestra and vocal ensemble based on the 24 prayers of St. John Chrysostom (one for each hour of the day). Commissioned for the 25th Oregon Bach Festival, the composition is both memorable and timeless. It finds influences in everything from chant to the repetition of modern minimalism. Play it loudly and the striking vocals of the Hilliard Ensemble simply soar against the strings of the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. The orchestral Trisagion harkens toward Litany's mood swings and impact, but--sans voice--lacks the mysticism. One of Pärt's best, and as sacred as modern compositions come. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Sublime piece of work, one of Part's best.
IceClimber
Add in a steady dynamic rise from an opening ppp and the tension increases throughout the piece.
DoctorD
Highly recommended, but a shame the whole CD is only about 42 minutes!
T. Fisher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Hugo on July 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Of all Arvo Pärt's more recent releases, "Litany" probably provides the best illustration to contemporary composers ("serious" and "pop", for want of better delimitations) that music can be intensely cyclic without being compromisingly repetitive or monotonous. The title track is a lengthy religious work that evokes one of the Hilliard Ensemble's most passionate vocal deliveries and progressively animates a fairly simple melody into a stirring crescendo. "Psalom" is a quietly dignified and meditative piece that confirms Pärt's mastery of musical concepts that contemporary pretenders would conveniently call "ambient". But the album's highlight is undoubtedly "Trisagion", where the composer conjours an entirely new range of timbres and textures from a string section and occasionally fools our ears into believing that they are wind instruments.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andres C. Salama on May 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I enjoy classical music, but I know too little to discuss it in a technical level. I understand that Part is regarded with some snobbery in some classical circles, who considered him some sort of neomedieval hack. I beg to disagree. I found this work amazing and stirring and spiritual. There are some similarities with the minimalist school, but this is a work that strikes you at an emotional level, unless the works by Glass, Reich et al.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Grunwell on January 2, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was very skeptical of Part, having seen rave reviews (from Michael Stipe of all people), as I tend to discount rave reviews. I heard a few of his pieces over the years without being at all impressed. If you like JS Bach or Rachmaninoff's "Vespers," then it didn't seem like Part was offering anything substantially new or innovative. Then I heard "Litany" and was blown away by the time the first vocalist intoned "Oh Lord." This music is like a divine nuclear explosion, the sound of a soul calling out for God from the depths of its being (de profundis). Silly descriptions aside, "Litany" is among the most stunning, beautiful compositions ever created by human hands. Catholic, Muslim, Lutheran, Ahmadiyan, Sikh, Buddhist, Athiest, Wiccan, or whatever, "Litany" will make a believer out of you. Having learned to hear Part, I've also come to admire other works, even those I previously disliked.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
LITANY collects three works by Arvo Part from the mid-1990s. They are all related to Eastern Orthodoxy and, in my opinion, form Part's first truly great religious composition.

"Litany" is an English-language setting of the 24 prayers of St. John Chrysostom for each hour of the day and night. Chrysostom's is one of the greatest litanies in Christianity and an example of the skill with words which gained him the epithet "Golden-Mouthed". With its continuous cycling between softer lulls and loud, proud entreaties the work might be best compared to Giya Kancheli's "Styx". The work is performed by the Tallin Chamber Orchestra with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, conducted by Tonu Kaljuste. However, the four main vocal parts are performed by singers from the Hilliard Ensemble, native speakers of English who can really bring out a most euphonious rendition.

The latter two works on the disc are performed by the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Saulius Sondeckis. "Psalom", written in 1985 and dedicated to the music publisher Alfred Schlee, and revised in 1995 is a relatively brief instrumental appreciation of the Psalter. It is a pretty work, but brief and quickly forgotten after the following piece. "Trisagion" was written in 1992 for the 500-year anniversary of the parish of the Prophet Elias in Ilomantsi and revised in 1995. It is inspired by the Orthodox hymn of that name ("Thrice-holy"), but is purely instrumental. It requires great care and energy on the lower strings, and the orchestra pulls this off admirably.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Wade on February 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Arvo Pärt is my favorite living composer, and a serious contender for my favorite composer of any time period. I have about twenty CDs of his music, containing about 70 of his works. And of these CDs, "Litany" is one of my very favorites. This unassuming, somewhat overlooked CD is a real gem, containing three of Pärt's pieces.

The first is the best, in my opinion. "Litany", clocking in at over 20 minutes and scored for chorus and orchestra, is a haunting, beautiful piece. It is generally structured as one long crescendo, starting off quiet and haunting, and building, building, building to a glorious choral climax that leads into a heart-stopping orchestral passage before dipping down to an otherworldly finish. In my eyes, this work, not only in its range, but also in its orchestration, anticipates another of Pärt's recent masterpieces, "Lamentate". This work alone makes the somewhat steep price of this CD worth it.

The second work, "Psalom", for strings, is the least interesting, in my book, and more along the lines of the meditative music for which Pärt is most well known. But despite being the low point of the album - though not a bad piece by any means - it's beautiful, and in the context of the CD, is a perfect counterbalance to "Litany".

Finally, the CD ends with another piece for string orchestra, "Trisagion", at over ten minutes long. This piece is more involved, dare I say deeper than its predecessor, and a satisfying end to the CD.

A great disc. Highly, highly recommended.
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