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File under: Minimalism

Arvo Part

Musica Selecta (2CD)

Label: ECM New Series

Format: 2CD

Genre: Compositional

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* 2021 stock *  As the title and subtitle imply, this is a kind of greatest-hits album, with music selected by ECM label producer Manfred Eicher from the 12 albums on the label devoted to the music of Arvo Pärt. Pärt's music is so malleable that people tend to make their own versions of it rather than collect it, but if you wanted an anthology as a starter box, this would be the one to choose. Eicher has worked closely with Pärt since the 1980s, and he has indeed made a sensible "sequence" out of works that do not have a lot of contrast among them. Several of the early works that led to Pärt's mature minimalist style are here, as well as most of the better-known pieces: there's a gorgeous reading of probably the most-played one of all, Fratres, by Gidon Kremer on violin and jazzman Keith Jarrett, another ECM stalwart, on piano. The performances are all by musicians with deep sympathy for Pärt's music, and the two CDs take on a hypnotic quality after a while.

The most impressive aspect, though, is the engineering. In Eicher's hands, Pärt's music seems to hang on the edge of silence: it is, in the prescient words of Federico Mompou, music that has fallen silent. The fact that Eicher managed to remaster tracks dating back as far as 1984 into a whole that is not only sonically coherent, but virtually seamless is testimony to how good the engineering was in the first place, and also to the remarkable care taken throughout the whole ECM Pärt project. A remarkable collection. (Amg)

Details
File under: Minimalism
Cat. number: 2454/55
Year: 2015

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