COMPOSERS: Arvo Pärt
ALBUM TITLE: The Kristjan Järvi Sound Project: Arvo Pärt
WORKS: Passacaglia; Darf ich…; Fratres; Festina Lente; La Sindone; Credo; Mein weg hat Gipfel und Wennentaler; Summa
PERFORMER: Anne Akiko Meyers (violin); MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony/Kristjan Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: V 5425
The ‘Kristjan Järvi Sound Project’ was launched in 2014 to rediscover and reframe classical works and so ‘transcend the borders of classical music’. Here the ‘Project’ celebrates the works of fellow Estonian Arvo Pärt. While the disc offers solid accounts of works spanning some 40 years, from the ever-mesmeric Fratres (heard here in iterations for string orchestra and for solo violin and strings) to the more recent and resolutely unsentimental Passacaglia (2003), it is hard to square the Project’s rubric of daring and discovery with this relatively straightforward ‘selected works’ album.
That said, it is intriguing to hear the early Credo for piano solo, mixed choir and orchestra. Composed in 1968, before Pärt escaped Soviet Estonia and created his meditative tintinnabuli style, the work blends Old and New Testament texts with Bach’s first Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier, and features the arresting dissonance of the composer’s earlier style. The disc also includes the 2005 La Sindone in a 2015 revision. Inspired by the possible journey of Christ’s shroud from Jerusalem to Turin, the orchestral work moves in ‘stages’ from tentative bells to blistering brass. Altogether a fine introduction both to Pärt’s familiar and lesser-known works.