Part: Fratres (six versions); Summa; Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Part
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Fratres (six versions); Summa; Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten
PERFORMER: Hungarian State Opera Orchestra/ Tamás Benedek
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553750
Some of these Hungarian musicians understand how Pärt’s delicate balance of passion and rigour is to be maintained. Cellist Tibor Párkányi in the cello-and-piano Fratres expertly manages to avoid making his fast arpeggiations sound either manic or mechanical. But the version for violin, strings and percussion is indulgent and lacks the necessary control.

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Several performances, particularly the string quartet Fratres, are spoilt by artificial manipulation of dynamics and balance, for which the blame must presumably lie with Tamás Benedek – producer as well as conductor. Few people will want six versions of Fratres on one disc, even if it includes a nicely idiomatic one – by Beat Brinner, not the composer himself – for wind octet and percussion. Keith Potter