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Released just a few weeks before Arvo Pärt's 70th birthday, Lamentate introduces a contrasting but deeply compelling pair of the Estonian composer's recent works. Da pacem domine (2004), a brief prayer for peace, is scored for a cappella voices and begins the disc on a luminous note. The Hilliard Ensemble, early and persistent champions of Pärt's music, are still among his finest interpreters, applying their pure and perfectly blended harmonies to the solemn repose of this work, which acts as a prelude to a much larger composition. Although it's written for solo piano and orchestra, Lamentate (2002) is no standard concerto, by the composer's own admission. Having put the human voice at the center of his music for so long, Pärt has seldom produced a purely instrumental score on this scale, nearly 40 minutes in length. Inspired by his experience of Anish Kapoor's sculpture Marsyas in London's Tate Modern, Lamentate could indeed be heard as a series of images -- the massive sculpture seen from a variety of views, sometimes seeming to hover motionless in space, sometimes unfreezing the forms' implicit energy and allowing them to surge outward. But no reference to Kapoor's work is needed to appreciate the grave beauty of Lamentate, which unfolds at a pace similar to many of Pärt's other works, slowly revealing its secrets to the receptive listener. Alexei Lubimov is a fine piano soloist here, alternately in dialogue and concord with the orchestra, and as ever, ECM provides the stunning acoustic space that Pärt's music requires. Whether intended as a birthday tribute to the composer or not, this disc suggests that Pärt's ability to convey spiritual wisdom through music is becoming ever more finely tuned with age.
Performance CreditsHilliard Ensemble Primary Artist,Ensemble,Vocal Ensemble
SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Andrey Boreyko Conductor
Alexei Lubimov Piano
Technical CreditsArvo Pärt Liner Notes
Manfred Eicher Producer
Peter Laenger Engineer
Richard Evidon Liner Note Translation
Jürgen Buss Engineer
Jean-Noël van der Weid Liner Note Translation
Dietmar Wolf Engineer