Arvo Pärt: A Portrait

Saturday, May 08, 2010

In our culture of soundbytes and 24/7 media, the soulful, meditative music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt offers a welcome reprieve. A new recording of his music by Montreal violinist Angèle Dubeau and her all-female chamber orchestra La Pietà is this week’s Full Rotation.

Dubeau isn’t quite a household name in the U.S. but in her native Canada she’s built a formidable reputation. In the 1990s she hosted a weekly Canadian television show "Faites vos gammes" (Do your scales), devoted to introducing new musical talent. She has made several best-selling recordings for the Canadian label Analekta, to whose president, Mario Labbé, she is married. In 1997 she founded La Pietà, named after Vivaldi's orchestra drawn entirely from members of a female orphanage.

Dubeau’s recordings are frequently vehicles for her magnetic personality and virtuoso technique. But here, she is sensitively attuned to the more self-effacing style of Pärt’s music. Included are some of his best-known works for strings including his Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, a miraculously simple yet quietly intense score featuring tubular bell; Tabula Rasa, a disjointed Baroque concerto grosso for two violins, strings, and prepared piano; and Spiegel im Spiegel, one of his most performed works, which closes the album with a mood breathtakingly beautiful in its simplicity. The rarity on the disc is Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrims' Song) for men's choir and string orchestra, in which voices chant on two tones a fifth apart over a bed of strings.

The six pieces here offer both an excellenet introduction to the talents of Dubeau and La Pietà as well as a fine overview of the instrumental music of Arvo Pärt.

Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà
Arvo Pärt: Portrait
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Comments [7]

Peter from Berlin

Arvo Pärt's music is one of the most important musical developments of any living composer today. The manner in which he takes a single idea and lets an entire piece grow out of it endlessly and relentlessly is a heightened sortof musical expression never once conceived before in the history of music, and is something that people should cherish. To make a comment in the manner of Frank Feldman's merely shows a lack of sensitivity in musical perception.

May. 16 2010 07:05 AM
Gev from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Despite that odd noise on SpiegeI im Spiegel, I really have enjoyed hearing tracks from this recording all week. It's highly likely I'll add the CD to my music library.

May. 14 2010 07:46 PM
Frank Feldman

Arvo Part's music is always so very beautiful for several minutes. And then one starts waiting for the actual music to begin, and it NEVER DOES.

May. 13 2010 10:17 PM
Gev from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Overall this is a lovely, vibrant, sensitive recording, but, alas, one that is marred by bowing noises in Spiegel im Spiegel, obtrusive sounds that remind me of somebody compulsively taking a deep breath.

May. 13 2010 08:42 AM

Lincoln Center just announced a new concert series entitled White Light. It begins this fall and will feature several pieces by Arvo Part. So this week's Full Rotation is a nice appetizer. Thank you.

May. 12 2010 05:43 PM
Ken from Clifton NJ

I really like this cd from what I heard so far, very contemporary, and beautiful, also La Pietà plays so well, I ope to catch this group some day, i think I will by this cd. Thanks for playing it

May. 12 2010 06:32 AM

I'm a big fan Pärt's work.

May. 10 2010 12:18 PM

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