One CD; one Work
trm | Basking Ridge, NJ USA | 07/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK. So he didn't write these all to be one piece of music, but the thing that makes Arbos the sine qua non of Arvo Part's commercial recordings music is that, taken and a whole, it is a primer on his composotional craft. The full expression of his technique is found in the Stabat Mater, which you'll have to go back 200+ years to Bach before finding an equal example of religious strum und drang subordinated (or elevated) to musical kunst. The elements of this master stroke are laid bare, pedagogiaclly if not dramatically, in the short works before it. The "Arbos", acting as sentry between the challenge and the contest, is a pure mensural canon (like the Cantus in Memory of Britten), a fundametal technique in the Stabat Mater.And, contrary to the "amazon.com essential recording" review above, the De Profundis is not "every measure the same rhythm", but one melodic phrase unit per word (listen to it: De pro-fun-dis cla-ma-vi ad te Do-mi-ne: Do-mi-ne ex-au-di vo-cem me-am. 1-3-3-1-1-3: 3-3-2-2.First phrase up, next phrase down; first ascending from the tonic, then descending to the tonic). Simple. Brilliant.Even simpler, Part's technique of melodic elements moving stepping along a scale while harmonic elements skip through a chord are presented in their purest expression in the Pari Intervallo.And the other three pieces exercise similar expressions of these basic elements, all preparing the listener for the Stadat Mater.Or, just sit back and let it all wash over you."
Evocative, Spiritual (but somewhat minimal) music.
Benjamin Smedberg (firstname.lastname@example.org | Washington, DC | 09/28/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is an unique combination of vocal and instrumental pieces. Minimalist musical elements as well as a superb performance by the Hilliard Ensemble, help to focus the listener on the importance of the text.The music can be difficult to listen to, however, because it requires a lot of concentration. It is not a CD to play in the background while making dinner, for example. You have to allow the music to penetrate your soul, or the CD will sound "boring."If you are willing to work at listening to this music, it is well worth buying this CD of music by one of the great modern composers."