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The CD opens with Pilgrim's Song, Pärt's tribute to his friend, the Estonian film and theatre director Grigori Kromanov. The work was written in 1984 for male voice and string quartet but it is the 2001 version for men's choir and string orchestra which is heard here. Based on Psalm 121 ("I will lift mine eyes unto the hills "), Pilgrim's Song explores, as Pärt explains in his sleevenote, time and timelessness. The mellifluous vocal writing contrasts with a heartfelt mourning figure for strings.
Como cierva sedienta (1998)--a five-movement choral drama for soprano, women's choir and orchestra--is the most substantial work on the disc. It begins in familiar Pärt territory--sustained voices, a tolling bell--before the orchestra begins to unfold. Some of the music which follows is almost filmic with its blazing trumpets and stratospheric vocal writing. Committed performances throughout come from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir directed by Tõnu Kaljuste. --Rebecca Agnew