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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 22 June 2011
This terrific introduction to the music of Arvo Pärt is an ideal entry point for those unsure where to begin searching through his vast body of work, providing an excellent overview of the composer's better-known pieces.

The compilation strikes a wonderful balance between Pärt's choral and orchestral compositions. The recordings are beautiful throughout, particularly "Festina Lente" and "Fratres". The performance of "Cantus" is particularly awe-inspiring.

This was the very first Arvo Pärt album I purchased several years ago, but certainly not the last. As such, I have alot to thank this wonderfully-priced primer for. Do not hesitate to buy this compilation if you have even the slightest interest in beautiful, inspirational music.
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on 13 June 2005
This is a great collection of music from the greatest living composer. The music is deep, with ever present religious feel - not dissimilar from Bach's in this respect. Besides being great for focussed listening, it is excellent background music. Fratres for string orchestra and percussion and Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten are among my all time favorites. Must have!
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on 23 April 2012
Does modern classical music have to be either brainless and gushing, or forbidding and intellectual? 'No!' says Arvo Part. If he's the most celebrated living composer, it's because his music is accessible but still has an edge - unmistakeably modern, but harking back to much earlier times.

There's certainly a suggestion of medieval church music, with its strange but simple structures, about some of his choral works; and, for me, these are the best pieces on the disc. Summa is a revelation: emotional but not sentimental, the feeling kept in balance by awareness of a greater reality. It would be a great choice for a funeral - more so, in my opinion, than the rather doom-laden Cantus in Memoriam.

The instrumental pieces are less impressive; fairly standard exercises in their respective genres, if anything they err towards gushing.

It's a little strange on a Best Of to be given two different versions of the same piece; Part seems to be a man who likes to make a little go a long way. But if, in the end, he's something of a bits'n'pieces composer, some of the bits are very good indeed.
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on 23 November 2008
These are deeply felt and captivating performances of Pärt's best-known works. My favourite Spiegel im Spiegel is played a bit too fast, but Tasmin Little's playing is wonderfully refined and imaginative, if not so deep as Shaham's accliamed version.
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on 15 November 2013
This is a great introduction to one of the less known composers.

Everyone talks of Beethoven, Bach etc. but Arvo Part's music comes from somewhere else and it even has a relation to some of the drone music that is common in progressive and metal music.

But, if you are a purely classical music fan don't let this put you off.

This is sedate, meditative music but is has great soul.

If you think you don't like classical music forget the categories of the industry and just listen to this, in particular, Summa for strings and the Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Brittan which is simple but superb.

Enjoy!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2011
I am enamoured of Arvo Part's music. Having recently been to a concert with the excellent Tallis Scholars, where they were performing work predominantly from the sixteenth century (Allegri, Palestrina, Byrd, Praetorius, Tallis) but interspersed with 3 choral pieces by Part, it was interesting to trace the musical debt he paid to this close, full, textured construction of interweaving choral lines. However, in Part's hands, the musical lines move closer, much closer, together, producing the spine tingling on-the edge-of discomfort semi-tone half discordancies which is so typical of much Balkan and Eastern European traditional choral music, both sacred and secular. Marry this with a pared back, spacious dynamic, as compared to the often vibrant, dramatic musical lines of Western European polyphonic music, and the particular qualities of Part shine forth. Slow moving, often hushed, reflective, repeated slowly moving arcs of melody. The choral music allows the listener to slip between the notes almost.

In contrast to the spareness of the choral works, are some absolutely beautiful lyrical and romantic pieces for piano and violin and for string orchestra.

For the former, there is the contrast in Fratres, with a blue, melancholy piano line, coupled with a violin melody at times verging on the frenetic and pained. The tensions between the two are strangely beautiful, weirdly haunting. Spiegel im Spiegel, again for piano and violin shows Part at his most intensely romantic. Like another `minimalist', Philip Glass, he is a master of melodic, the soulful, yearning, lyrical line of music, which speaks of love and longing.

There is a very pleasing collection of different `Parts' on this CD, performed by different artists. The choral works in the main by the Vasari Singers, but also the Choir of Kings College Cambridge (particularly fine, with wonderful acoustics) the violin and piano pieces with Tamsin Little and Martin Roscoe and the orchestral pieces by Bournemouth Sinfonietta and the Estonian National Orchestra, for the final 3 orchestral tracks, finishing with the wonderfully intense Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, though I must admit I prefer the version by Bournemouth Sinfonietta which I have on another Part CD for this piece, as on that CD, Pärt: Sanctuary, it seems somehow cleaner, particularly when the lines get dense and textured at the end
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on 28 January 2006
Glorious and spine tingling singing of this beautiful poetry from St. Mark.
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on 14 June 2007
This is a music from the another dimension. Absolute clearity of the mind. A fragile balance you are looking... A touch of something beautiful that's uncomparable bigger than you.

Simple, but in very different way.

Must have!
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on 29 August 2014
Stunning, peaceful yet dramatic selection of music from someone I'd never heard of until Romeo Stodart of the Magic Numbers referenced him in Mojo magazine. I was really surprised by how timeless his work is and I loved its ethereal beauty and calm, blending piano, voices and strings
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on 22 August 2013
I bought this CD after enjoying Arvo Pärt's 'Lamentate' and wanting to know more of the music of this composer. This CD gives an excellent selection of his compositions and includes the very powerful, intense 'Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten'.
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