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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Arvo Pärt’s Choral Devotions Occupy A Space All Their Own

By Norman Lebrecht on November 20, 2020

Arvo Pärt (Photo: Eric Marinitsch)
Arvo Pärt (Photo: Eric Marinitsch)

Arvo Pärt: Works for Choir (Cugate Classics)

★★★☆☆

🎧 Cugate Classics | Amazon

I chucked out a bunch of new releases this week, mostly solo recitals on esoteric instruments like the harp, the mandolin and the saxophone, though also viola, voice and harpsichord, some on so-called major labels. These recitals tend to be paid for by the soloist after a label decides they are uncommercial. Knowing that people are unlikely to buy it, why would I waste valuable time reviewing it and you reading about it? In these fragile times when every hour of life is doubly precious, artists need to think twice and think again before pushing out more and more of these promotional discs. The recycle bin is overflowing

If there’s one thing I’ve missed more in COVID than the sound of a symphony orchestra tuning up, it’s the little shuffle a choir gives before it opens throats and lets rip. While I’m not a great fan of the flock of Anglican dirges with organ obbligato that descends at this time of year, and less still of the growling of Russian monks, Pärt’s unaccompanied devotions occupy a space all their own, a contemplation of the divine beneath God’s own skies. When Pärt titles a piece “Magnificat”, you can be confident that it is. The insult of “holy minimalism” that Boulez hurled his way has never sound less appropriate.

Arvo Part CD

I know nothing about the Vilnius Municipal Choir not its artistic director Vaclovas Augustinas because the label — also new to me — has not bothered to supply a booklet. But the 40 minutes of music on this album is alternately hypnotic and uplifting and I can recommend it without hesitation — just the caveats that it’s short and uninformative. Lord, they have lovely choirs on the Baltic. When, oh when, will we hear them live again?

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

FEATURE | Classical Music For A Spooky Mood

By Anya Wassenberg on October 29, 2020

We’ve looked at the obvious and the more obscure, pieces both centuries old and new, to come up with a list of musical suggestions for getting into the spooky spirit of Halloween.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | In These Tense Times Tigran Mansurian’s Voice Is Unmistakable

By Norman Lebrecht on November 6, 2020

Tigran Mansurian’s voice is unmistakable; his language is Armenian but his music is imprinted with contemporary references.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | A Look At Nadia Boulanger As Composer

By Norman Lebrecht on October 30, 2020

A new album pays tribute to influential teacher Nadia Boulanger, who counted Copland, Philip Glass and many other luminaries among her students.
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