Orient & Occident

As much as one might long for Arvo PÄrt to be more musically ambitious (just as one might wish his English counterpart, John Tavener, to be less so), this would be missing the point of the Esto

As much as one might long for Arvo Pärt to be more musically ambitious (just as one might wish his English counterpart, John Tavener, to be less so), this would be missing the point of the Estonian composer's otherworldly art. The three premiere recordings Orient & Occident comprises don't carry the tragic weight or great expressiveness of such past Pärt milestones as Tabula Rasa or Te Deum. But they do course with the heartfelt

intimacy characteristic of all the man's works. In particular, Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrim's Song) for string orchestra and male chorus is a moving memorial for a friend; it could very well become one of the composer's more popular pieces. The other works here—the brief, monophonic East-meets-West title piece for string orchestra and the quiet, half-hour-long psalmody of Como Cierva Sedienta for orchestra and women's chorus—will appeal to Pärt fans (as well as newcomers), even if the music is ultimately less striking than Pilgrim's Song. The performances by longtime Pärt interpreter Tõnu Kaljuste and the Swedish Radio Symphony and Chorus are ideal.—BB
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