CER's articles on Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and an extensive discography of CDs.
Most CDs are available through both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Since the two suppliers maintain their stocks independently, some CDs are only available through one of them.
- Arvo Pärt-only CDs
- Arvo Pärt with other Baltic composers
- Arvo Pärt with other Central and East European Composers
- Arvo Pärt books
Pärt of a Wider Picture
Kurt Mortensen (Vol 2, No 27, 2000)
The roots of Estonia's art music scene run deeper than just Pärt, Tüür and Tormis.
A Subtler Form of Suffering
Andrew James Horton (The New Presence, April 1999)
How Arvo Pärt's music of the spiritual evolved out of the apocalyptic.
Arvo Pärt-only CDs
Pärt's works are best experienced on recordings by the German ECM label, with whom the composer works closely. Quality is high in all respects, often including extensive liner notes in German and English, bi-lingual texts for settings and outer box packaging. In shops the retail price is usually high too, but through Amazon.com these CDs are no more expensive than less well-presented rivals (with the obvious exception of budget releases).
Pärt at his best in this large-scale work. Translated into English, the title means "Canon of Repentance" - haunting music of a man's soul laid agonisingly bare before God. A double CD with ECM's usual high production and presentation standards. Essential addition to any collection... but then they all are. Full price.
This was the first Pärt CD to hit the market and it is still exceedingly popular. And rightly so. It concentrates on the ground-breaking instrumental works of the mid-1970s. The CD features two versions of Fratres - including its most sublime version for 12 cellos - and star performances from Keith Jarrett, Gideon Kremer and even the composer Alfred Schnittke on prepared piano. Highly recommended starting point for Pärt virgins. Full price.
As well as the formidable title track, this contains a short instrumental piece Festina Lente and a highly effective work for four voices, drums and organ - Sarah was Ninety Years Old. Full price.
One vocal piece and two for chamber orchestra. Full price.
Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem to give it its full title. To my mind, Pärt is always at his best working on a larger scale, such as here. Full price.
Arbos, An den Wassrn zu Babel, Pari Inervallo, Es Sang vor Langen Jahren, Summa, Stabat Mater, De Profundis, Arbos. Curiously, the opening and closing tracks are identical. Full price.
Another sumptuous ECM package, featuring: Te Deum, Silouan's Song, Magnificat, Berliner Messe. Full price.
The increasingly adventurous Naxos label thrives on slashing prices whilst preserving production standards, using (high-quality) orchestras and performers from the former Communist countries to reduce costs. If you like Pärt's famous Fratres, then this CD contains six different versions of this introspective and meditative piece. Budget.
Some earlier works here, written before Pärt had found his trademark style of simplicity and spirituality. An intriguing insight into how the composer found himself. For the dedicated fan. Full price.
With eight pieces, this CD crams in representative works from just about every stage of his development in his popular phase. Of course, in the process, large-scale works are ignored. A sort of "Arvo Pärt's Greatest Hits" album. Full price.
Estonian music performed by Estonians with: De Profundis, Cantate Domino, Solfeggio, Seven Magnifiact Antiphons, Missa Sillabica, Beatus Petronius, I Am the True Vine, Momento Mori Statuit ei Dominus. Full price.
Berliner Messe, Seven Magnificat Antiphons, De Profundis, The Beatitudes, Magnificat, Credo, Annum per Annum. Full price.
Collage sur B-A-C-H, Summa, Fratres, Wenn Bach die Bien gezuchtet hatte, Symphony No 2, Festina Lente, Credo. Full price.
De Profundis, Missa sillabica, Solfeggio, And One for the Pharisees, Cantate Domino, Summa, Seven Magnificat Antiphons, Magnificat. Full price.
Summa, Festina Lente, Fratres, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Tabula Rasa, Collage sur B-A-C-H. Full price.
Arvo Pärt with other Baltic composers
Pärt's music is often pleasingly coupled with other Estonian or Baltic composers. The frequent contenders for such matches - Vasks, Tüür and Tubin - are all well worthy of interest in their own right.
String quartets by Vasks and Tüür with one of the manifold arrangements of Pärt's most persistent work, Fratres. Full price.
Works by Pärt, Ciurlionis and Vasks alongside lesser known Baltic composers, from the ever-interesting BIS label. Full price.
Searching for Roots, as well as being a title of an included piece by Tüür, is a good description of the selection. An early serialist piece by Pärt, from the days when serialism was frowned upon in the Soviet Union and his "Polyphonic" First Symphony in this selection of orchestral pieces. Full price.
Estonian music under the baton of an esteemed Estonian conductor. Pärt is only represented by his five-minute Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten and the rest of the CD is more adventurously programmed, presenting pieces by less famed composers. Full price.
Vocal works by Pärt and compatriot Tormis. Full price.
Another selection of Baltic quartets this time from Tubin (three works) and Tüür and another recording of Fratres by Pärt in its string quartet form. Full price.
Pärt's omnipresent Fratres combined with a fine selection of well-known and obscure Baltic composers. Full price.
Just when you want Amazon to be at their best, they let you down. Woefully little information on this intriguingly titled compilation, although there are audio samples and track titles available, they neglect to list the composers. The CD does, though, include Pärt's Für Allina.
Arvo Pärt with other Central and East European composers
Górecki's fame still largely rests on his Third Symphony with its settings of fifteenth century liturgical texts, Polish folk songs and Gestapo cell graffiti (not on this disc). However, the growing interest in his other works is here represented by his Harpsicord Concerto, attractively coupled with Pärt's Tabula Rasa and, an absolutely essential addition to every collection of modern classical music, Schnittke's snook-cocking Concerto Grosso No 1. Full price.
Baltic for these purposes includes Russia and Poland with works by Schnittke and Górecki. Baltic composers in the narrower sense of the term include Vasks and Ciurlionis, as well as Pärt himself, represented by Seven Magnificat Antiphons. Full price.
The 5-minute piano piece Für Alina was the first piece Pärt wrote after a period in the stylistic wilderness. Composed for a sick young girl, the score ends with an ornamental picture of a flower for the dedicatee.
Ancient and modern mixing in this selection of vocal work sung by a world-famous choir. Tavener, a convert to the Russian Orthodox church, consolidated his international reputation when his music was played at Princess Diana's funeral. Pärt is represented by his Magnificat and the Beatitudes. Full price.
Not the most politically sensitive of titles for a CD which contains a work by an Estonian. Predictably, only a Russian label could manage such an affront. The other featured composers - Shostakovich, Gubaidulina and Shchedrin - are Russian enough though. Mid price.
Study of Pärt's works and life by a man who has recorded much of his music.
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