Arvo Pärt, S/D

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This man's compositons have been recorded a lot. It seems ECM comes out with a new CD of his work every month. So where should I start? What should I avoid?

Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:11 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

...not exactly "every week", more like every year

by all means start with 'Tabula Rasa'

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Search also his "Magnificat".

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:17 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Which recordings of these compositions?

Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:19 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

In both cases, I think ECM has the definitive version. Not familiar with many alternate takes, but it's sure hard to screw up "Fratres" unless you really try.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:22 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Probably not the best recording of the "Magnificat", but I'm singing on this one:

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:24 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Are you throat-singing on it?

Amateurist (amateurist), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:26 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Alas, no.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:26 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

by 'Tabula Rasa' i did mean the album of that name on ECM ("Tabula Rasa" and "Fratres", the compositions, are both on it)

t\'\'t (t\'\'t), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:28 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Libbie Landles-Dowling = best name evah!

zebedee, Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:28 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Both 'Tabula Rasa' and 'Alina' are absolutely fantastic...

mark p (Mark P), Thursday, 9 January 2003 16:38 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I second Alina... get it while it is still winter...

Aaron Grossman (aajjgg), Thursday, 9 January 2003 18:15 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Has anyone heard the Naxos recording of 'Fratres'?

man, Friday, 10 January 2003 01:27 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

anyone with a copy of winter sleepers / winterschläfer OST, could you please e-mail me. thankee

ron (ron), Friday, 10 January 2003 03:50 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Naxos recording of Fratres is the best, which is pretty surprising for what's considered a budget label. Fantastic stuff..

I'd heard but never owned Tabula Rasa until recently, but I made the mistake of getting the 'Silencio' version which is pretty boring. I remembered the piece to be much more exciting. So is it the Silencio version that particularly sucks or am I missing out on sth?

Fabrice Terrac (Fabfunk), Friday, 10 January 2003 16:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

yeah i have the naxos recording of both frates and tabula rasa
i really like both,but couldn't recommend the specific versions since i know fuck all about classical music so i dunno how this version would compare to any others....
there was a great arvo part piece written by someone around here,i think it might have been ned?

robin (robin), Friday, 10 January 2003 19:57 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
Today I learned that the mentor and former boss of one of my two dearest friends passed on. My friend is crushed and I'm doing what I can to help, as I can. For now, though, stuck at home sick, I have put on Tabula Rasa and marvelling once again at what a pure, beautiful expression of sheer grief "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten" is.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 20:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

None more fitting... Sorry to hear, too.
I seriously think that if something were made that eclipsed the emotional intensity of this piece it would honestly be too much.

firstworldman (firstworldman), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 20:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Someone at work loaned me one or two Pärt CDs several years back, but I didn't have much of a response. (It didn't helped that he framed them in the context of Steve Reich, who he knows I like, comparing Reich unfavorably to Pärt.) However, I just borrowed some Part from the library (a recording with Tabula Rasa, Fratres and Symphony No.3, and I'm enjoying it. I'm interested in the way it is at times so traditional and yet so contemporary, all at once.

Rockist Scientist, Friday, 31 August 2007 22:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

I got a copy of 'Kanon Pokajanen' secondhand the other day. I listened to it last night and it's absolutely incredible. A two disc unaccompanied choral work recorded in Niguliste Church in Tallinn by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and released on ECM, it's beautiful and moving.

It's my first real exposure to Arvo Pärt, but I can sense an expensive quest to obtain more starting from here.

krakow, Thursday, 13 March 2008 10:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i work at the ballet and one of our pieces tonight used his music, Für Alina. totally hypnotic and great to watch beatiful women move to it

jergïns, Thursday, 13 March 2008 10:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I think it says something, probably bad, about me, that despite Naxos et al versions of many pieces supposedly being excellent (and cheap), I'm absolutely lusting after the ECM stuff, because it looks so much classier and profound somehow. I am surface.

krakow, Monday, 24 March 2008 09:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ECM stuff is generally excellent, nay, wonderfully rendered in my experience, although that's mostly jazz rather than classical. Their design scheme does have a certain... appealing austerity, that's for sure.

Scik Mouthy, Monday, 24 March 2008 09:46 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

I used to listen to a lot of minimalist music (Stars of the Lid, Labradford, SAW II Aphex Twin, and millions of other bands), and Alina is possibly the best minimalist piece of music out of them all. I know of nothing else like it, nor anything as evocative.

Jesus Christ, Attorney at Law (res), Thursday, 29 January 2009 18:06 (ten years ago) Permalink

his new symphony's playing here in a couple of months. there was a west coast premiere, apparently it's good. and uh huh - alina's something else.

schlump, Thursday, 29 January 2009 18:07 (ten years ago) Permalink

i just picked up 'litany', which i am enjoying very much

pwner's manual (omar little), Thursday, 29 January 2009 18:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

I had an AP piece played at my wedding.

Badder Meinhof Syndrome (libcrypt), Thursday, 29 January 2009 19:49 (ten years ago) Permalink

Which piece?!

t**t, Thursday, 29 January 2009 20:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

Good question.

Badder Meinhof Syndrome (libcrypt), Thursday, 29 January 2009 20:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

Better give a good answer too :)

t**t, Thursday, 29 January 2009 20:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

i picked up litany, sort of picked it at random.

like it a lot.

is it a "good one"...where to proceed? is there better stuff to get? worse stuff?

matt h. (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 16:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

Said it a couple of times on here already but trust me, Tabula Rasa.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 16:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

thx "litany" generally...i guess, representative of his style overall?

matt h. (M@tt He1ges0n), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 16:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

In Principio, the newest one, is pretty amazing.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 17:20 (nine years ago) Permalink


ramón gastro (omar little), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 17:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

alina is also pretty incredible

ramón gastro (omar little), Tuesday, 23 June 2009 17:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

Alina is a heart-breaker.

krakow, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 21:56 (nine years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

In Principio has some pretty out there religious liner notes. I understand he's a very religious composer, but still, the point of view here is pretty startling:

The title La Sindone refers to Jesus’ shroud (Santa Sindone) as described in the Gospel of Mark 15:46. Since 1578 this shroud has been located in Turin Cathedral. The story of the shroud, which has been scientifically examined several times, remains an enigma to the present day. . . .

The central third movement (vv.9-11) is not only the longest but the one whose message Pärt specially emphasised by repeating the words three times—something he had never done before in his vocal music. He evidently did so to send a signal directly to each and every one of us: ‘He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

At least there will be no altar call, since this is Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

I need to listen to the last composition some more. I am having trouble listening to this at all, because I don't feel comfortable cranking it up loud enough to catch all the chanegs in dynamics, but that last one stood out for me. (It's probably just easier to grasp.)

_Rockist__Scientist_, Saturday, 5 September 2009 18:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

'Da Pacem Domine', the first piece on the ECM "Lamentate" CD is incredible. I absolutely love his choral work.

I also got the "24 Preludes For A Fugue" DVD a couple of weeks ago. Anyone else seen that? It made me fall in love with him as a person as well; such a funny guy, very childlike at times in his delight with strange wee aspects of the world. Seeing him think and work in the film was wonderful.

krakow, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

Any recommendations outwith the ECM releases? I have all the ECM & Naxos CDs, but am fancying a bit more input.

I have these two as well, both of which are excellent:

The first being 'Summa' on Virgin Classics by Paavo Jarvi & the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the second being a 2CD compilation on EMI Classics featuring some great organ & choral pieces on the second disc with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent.

I'm going to go back to trawl through my old Gramphone guide.

krakow, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 11:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

Hyperion & Harmonia Mundi are usually solid, is my current thinking...

krakow, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 11:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

Anyone else think Virginia Astley must have been a fan, specifically on "From Gardens Where we feel Secure..?"

Flowersdie (Beril the peril), Tuesday, 29 September 2009 16:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

holy shit at this video

always changing, always the same (acoleuthic), Saturday, 5 June 2010 00:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

and at the Magnificat (amazing video too)

always changing, always the same (acoleuthic), Saturday, 5 June 2010 00:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

this is something fundamental

always changing, always the same (acoleuthic), Saturday, 5 June 2010 00:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

there was a good program on BBC4 last week called Sacred Music, first half hour about Gorecki, second about Part. Gorecki was too ill to take part in the program himself, but they had lot of great footage of Part - hearing a radio interview he did in the 60s for the first time and reacting to it, attending the rehearsals to a new piece & giving meticulous instructions to the percussionists, talking about the influence of Estonian folk music etc. these things tend to get repeated a lot so its worth keeping an eye out.

zappi, Saturday, 5 June 2010 01:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

this is slightly OT; apologies if this has already been covered: what is with the diacritic above the a in Part?

No disre but maryanne hobbs is peng trust me (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 5 June 2010 08:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

not that my irl conversations involve a lot of discussion of estonian minimalist composers.

No disre but maryanne hobbs is peng trust me (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 5 June 2010 08:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh well, the ä-question. His family name is really, actually, since birth -- Pärt. That's the correct spelling.

t**t, Saturday, 5 June 2010 16:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

Or did you rather mean, how to properly pronounce the name?
The ä-vowel is pronounced pretty much like, say, the a is in the English names Matt or Pat. Whats more? The r in Pärt is not silent.
...That's about it, I think.

t**t, Saturday, 5 June 2010 17:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

yes i expressed that badly. I am pronouncing it correctly :)

No disre but maryanne hobbs is peng trust me (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 5 June 2010 17:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

The video of him playing through and talking about Alina posted above is amazing. I love to watch that and to see him thinking about and trying to explain what he was doing with the piece. The whole DVD that it comes from, "24 Preludes For A Fugue", is well worth getting/watching. He is an utterly charming and lovely man.

krakow, Monday, 7 June 2010 11:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

Thanks for posting that, acoleuthic. In the midst of a dreadful morning at work, it's made my day.

Michael Jones, Monday, 7 June 2010 12:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

since then I have heard Te Deum, Fratres and the Cantus...pretty astonishing

Mark Ronson: "Led Zeppelin were responsible for hip-hop" (acoleuthic), Monday, 7 June 2010 12:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

In Nov '98 I saw Part's Litany and Trisagon performed (with the Hilliard Ensemble; two Erkki-Sven Tuur pieces were part of the programme too) at QEH. The great man was there. Gave us a little wave.

Michael Jones, Monday, 7 June 2010 14:09 (eight years ago) Permalink

I really liked the video too. I went to the BBC website to see if the Sacred Music program was on iPlayer, but no luck.

I am using your worlds, Monday, 7 June 2010 14:12 (eight years ago) Permalink

me too. sucky.

Lil' Lj & The World (jim in glasgow), Monday, 7 June 2010 14:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

That programme was actually part of a four-part series on sacred music (the second series made by the BBC on this topic). Other episodes in the series covered Tavener, Macmillan, Fauré &c. You can download the whole lot on torrent sites.

anagram, Monday, 7 June 2010 14:30 (eight years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I've been listening to "Da Pacem Domine" from 'In Principio' a lot this last week. Absolutely breaking me to pieces in 5 and a half minutes.

There's a great live video of it here:

krakow, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

Does your lady appreciate your Pärt?

so you want Mark Ronson to cry into your ass (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:10 (eight years ago) Permalink

Anyway, that was pretty good. His works are never dour - they always have this sparkle to them

so you want Mark Ronson to cry into your ass (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

My lady is lost.

krakow, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

I am alone in this harsh world once again.

krakow, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

alone, and with only the most gorgeous and threnodic of compositions to cradle your scalp

so you want Mark Ronson to cry into your ass (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:22 (eight years ago) Permalink

Exactly. It's been a fortnight of Frank Sinatra's downer albums & Arvo Pärt's soul-quietening beauty.

krakow, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:24 (eight years ago) Permalink


Seriously, I think an album built along the twin principles of Gothic existentialism and Arvo Pärt could be quite something

so you want Mark Ronson to cry into your ass (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 29 June 2010 10:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
eleven months pass...

Percussionist Kuniko Kato's Cantus album has some incredible arrangements of Fratres, Memory of Benjamin Britten and Spiegel im Spiegel. Unsurprisingly Pärt rates her very highly, it is shame she didn't do a full album of Pärt compositions because Reich bores the arse off me these days.

Damo Suzuki's Parrot, Wednesday, 30 October 2013 18:20 (five years ago) Permalink

oh wow this sounds lovely

schlump, Wednesday, 30 October 2013 19:13 (five years ago) Permalink

thanks for the heads up as i'd probably never have come across this otherwise. off to investigate.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 30 October 2013 19:49 (five years ago) Permalink

...and they are fantastic. smitten!

stirmonster, Wednesday, 30 October 2013 20:19 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah thanks from me too. MP3s are cheap on Amazon, btw

Project Witch (I am using your worlds), Wednesday, 30 October 2013 20:27 (five years ago) Permalink

The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir "Da Pacem" is amazing. Will also heartily second "Alina".

Has talent, needs to figure out how to improve (staggerlee), Thursday, 31 October 2013 17:48 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

US Grammy nominations:

Arvo Pärt's Adam’s Lament won nominations in two categories - Best Contemporary Classical Composition and Best Choral Performance (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir with Tõnu Kaljuste directing).

curmudgeon, Monday, 9 December 2013 18:53 (five years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

With the announcement of the new ECM album 'The Deer's Cry', I realise I also totally missed 'Adam's Lament' back in 2012/2013. I'll end up buying them regardless, but any opinions (on either)?

NWOFHM! Overlord (krakow), Monday, 12 September 2016 13:07 (two years ago) Permalink

I recently picked Adam's Lament up at a Value Village, of all places - I'm by no means an expert but it's very lovely.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 12 September 2016 18:40 (two years ago) Permalink

Thanks Simon.

I found this live performance of Adam's Lament in Toronto on Youtube and it's really beautiful:

I'll definitely be getting the album.

NWOFHM! Overlord (krakow), Wednesday, 21 September 2016 17:52 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Viktoria Mullova / Paavo Järvi/ Estonian National Symphony Orchestra - Arvo Pärt


stunning recording with some of his best hits from the 70's!

calzino, Monday, 3 December 2018 09:17 (five months ago) Permalink

The extant recordings are so definitive that I'm systematically disappointed by anyone else's take on these pieces. But I love them so much that I'll probably end up checking it out anyway.

pomenitul, Monday, 3 December 2018 09:24 (five months ago) Permalink

in that context you might well be disappointed. It was just perfect for my mood this morning.

calzino, Monday, 3 December 2018 09:58 (five months ago) Permalink

Which recordings do you mean by "extant"? Haven't most of Pärt's works been recorded several times by different orchestras/ensembles?

Tuomas, Monday, 3 December 2018 22:09 (five months ago) Permalink

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