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.
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