Pärt

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COMPOSERS: Arvo Pärt
LABELS: BR Klassik
ALBUM TITLE: Pärt
WORKS: Te Deum; Wallfahrstlied; Berlin Mass; After the Victory
PERFORMER: Bavarian Radio Choir; Munich Radio Orchestra/Peter Dijkstra
CATALOGUE NO: BR Klassik 900511

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The album Te Deum offers powerful performances of four mid-period works by Pärt for choir and orchestra. Composed in 1985, the disc’s title work is a bold 30-minute piece for three choirs, prepared piano, string orchestra and an aeolian harp or ‘wind’ harp (heard here on tape recorder), blending echoes of early European polyphony with homophonic passages based on Gregorian Chant. The work exemplifies the intensity and delicacy of the composer’s signature restraint, with a single D triad standing as the harmonic basis of the entire work, and is here performed with sensitivity and poise. Te Deum is teamed with the Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) of 1990, composed for voices and organ in honour of the 90th Catholic Day in Berlin and subsequently rearranged for choir and string orchestra in 1992 (the edition heard here). The work alternates between the meditative and the vividly animated.

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The disc also offers full-blooded renderings of the buoyant cantata for solo voices, Dopo la vittoria and the brooding, dazzling Wallfahrtslied for male voices and orchestra. The Bavarian Radio Choir gives authoritative accounts of these subtly complex works, skilfully marshalled by conductor Peter Dijkstra and smartly captured in this impressive live recording. Kate Wakeling