- Audio CD (8 Dec. 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: ECM New Series
- ASIN: B0000260TR
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,963 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Arvo Part - Arbos
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The Hilliard Ensemble: David James - (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump, John Potter - (tenor), Gordon Jones - (baritone)
Christopher Bowers-Broadbent - (organ), Gidon Kremer - (violin), Vladimir Mendelssohn - (viola), Thomas Demenga - (cello), Brass Ensemble Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Dennis Russell Davies - (conductor)
Top Customer Reviews
Some is a little repetitive, but overall it is a stunning collection of his work, truly reflecting his Estonian origins.
Listen on your own and become wrapped in this amazing music.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Official Grade: 9.2 out of 10
I was alone in the car, listening to ABC Classic FM, as always, and I heard all of the Statbat Mater. I was captivated by this poignant, sublime and beautiful music. The three soloists, soprano, countertenor and tenor, sing the music with great style and beauty. The melodic lines seem to be weightless and float through each other in a very graceful way. The work is accompanied by a small group of string instruments.
I bought the recording when I got back to Melbourne and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. I also bought the Hilliard Ensemble's recording of the Pärt St. John Passion, commonly known as the Passio.
Lovers of the music of John Tavener and Henryk Gorecki, who haven't heard any of Pärt's music will be in for a very pleasant surprise.
Those who have heard the TABULA RASA disc are familiar with "Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten" for bell and strings. That's a mensuration canon, where various instrumental parts play a descending scale in different speeds, but it is peaceful and contemplative. On this disc "Arbos" for 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, and percussion (1977) takes the same form, but with very different instrumentation, a faster tempo, and louder dynamics it obtains a very different sound. Those who think of Part only as a creator of calm moods will be surprised indeed by this piece which turns the basics of tintinnabuli writing towards a troubled, though fairly static, surface. The Staatsorchester Stuttgart conducted by Dennis Russell Davies gives a confident performance.
The other pieces here are performed by the Hilliard Ensemble. "Pari Intervallo" for organ (1976) does with that instrument what "Fur Alina" did with piano, display the sound of tinntinabuli in the simplest possible form. It's notable for being Part's calmest piece for organ; others are somewhat monsters.
The title of "An den Wassern zu Babel" for trombone and chamber orchestra (1986) refers to the well-known psalm, but instead of merely setting the text Part communicates the soul of the Israelites' lament though anguished vocalizations. The a capella "Summa" (1986), on the other hand, sets the Nicene Creed without any emotional edge whatsoever, letting the listener soberly listen to its theological truths, a good counter to, say, the Glagolitic Mass of Janacek.
"De Profundis" for male chorus, percussion & organ (1980) sets Psalm 130. While the chorus and percussion range everywhere through the seven-minute length of the piece, the organ maintains a slow ostinato much like in "Pari Intervallo".
Though Part usually sets Biblical or liturgical texts, "Es sang vor langen Jahren" for counter-tenor or alto with violin & viola (1984) is a setting of a poem by Clemens Brentano talking of a human lover and a nightingale. The music is fairly standard Part, though. Perhaps a little too standard, for I have a hard time enjoying this piece, which doesn't do much to stand out.
"Stabat Mater" (1987) is at 25 minutes the longest piece on the disc, and one of Part's greatest achievements. A setting of the well-known hymn, it consists of alternating sections focusing either on chorus or the violin, here performed by the great Gidon Kremer. The text telling of the Theotokos sorrowfully gazing at Christ on the Cross is, as one can expect, set solemnly indeed, but surprising are the joyful dance-like cadences led by the violin that break in.
While most of the music here is mainstream tintinnabuli, "An den Wassern zu Babel" (1976) is unusual, coming after Part's creative silence but not squaring with his new style. It displays the composer's interest in medieval music, and is closer to his Symphony No. 3 of several years previously than to "Fur Alina" written the same year and the tintinnabuli pieces that have followed.
One regrets that ECM places "Arbos" here twice--the label is infamous for rarely putting together enough material to nicely fill a disc. That and the presence of the frankly dull "Es sang for langen Jahren" causes me to subtract a star. Nonetheless, those who have heard TABULA RASA and want to head deeper into Part's singular soundworld are highly encouraged to check out this disc which, as a fellow reviewer noted, is strangely neglected.