Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Powerful choral and orchestral music by Arvo Pärt

 

Arvo Pärt's music always has about it a sense of bearing witness, and as such its power is best felt in the immediacy of a live performance, or the next best thing, a live recording. When the recording is as powerfully and beautifully played and sung and recorded as is this Arvo Pärt Live disc, we really cannot ask for more. The works chosen represent a cross-section of some of the greatest works by the Estonian composer, from his early Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten for string orchestra & bell, to the choral a cappella work Seven Magnificat Antiphons, to the complex work for chorus and orchestra Cecilia, vergine romana. The album begins with another early work, the Collage on BACH for strings, oboe, harpsichord and piano, which though it's in a completely different style than the rest of the works, stands as a sign-post to Pärt's future development. And it ends with the mysterious Litany – Prayers of St John Chrysostom for Each Hour of the Day and Night, which is beautifully sun by the Hilliard Ensemble. The 70 minutes of music takes one through passages of alternating terror, awe, sorrow and joy, which are liable to result in a profound aesthetic and/or religious experience.

The disc will be released on May 19, 2017.

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