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Music News 06/04/2014

Arvo Pärt in DC

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Last week, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt made a rare appearance in Washington at concerts devoted to his music. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Talinn Chamber Orchestra, specialists in Pärt’s music, played to an ecstatic crowd at the Kennedy Center, and the Phillips Collection followed with a special concert in its Music Room devoted to chamber music.

The program at the Kennedy Center included the instrumental works Fratres and Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten from Tabula Rasa (released 1984, ECM, $18.98), and the grand choral works from Te Deum (released 1993, ECM, $18.98) and Adam’s Lament (released 2012, ECM, $18.98).

There is a new recording of Pärt’s music I highly recommend:

Pärt: Stabat Mater (Challenge Classics, $18.98) features the Goeyvaerts String Trio and a vocal trio (soprano, countertenor, tenor) in the 1985 work, Stabat Mater. The Trio plays Stabat Mater in just intonation (not standard tempered tuning), giving the piece an even more haunting and beautiful sound. The Goeyvaerts Trio completes the album with Simeron, by British composer Ivan Moody, commissioned by the group, and also for three vocalists and strings. Moody, like Pärt, is also deeply influenced by Eastern Orthodox texts and liturgy.

There is also a wonderful recent collection, A Place Between (Louth Contemporary Music Society, $18.98), featuring a creative mix of composers and pieces “influenced by profound religious or cultural encounters.” The composers include Pärt, John Tavener, Valentin Silvestrov, Henryk Górecki, John Cage, and Alexander Knaifel in works for combinations of voice (soprano Patricia Rozario), string quartet, piano, flute, violin, and percussion.


CD CoverMiles Davis, Take Off: The Complete Blue Note Albums 1952 – 1954 (Blue Note, 2 CDs, $29.98) – Prime Miles Davis, playing with drummer Art Blakey, pianist Horace Silver, and saxophonist Jackie McLean, among others. These were originally released on 10-inch albums (Young Man With A Horn, Miles Davis Vol. 2, and Miles Davis Vol. 3), and the re-issue features the original sequencing, and also includes alternate takes.


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Guitarist Jimmy Page has re-mastered the first three Led Zeppelin albums, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, and Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic, each 2 CDs, $18.98). Also included with each title is an extra CD of period live performances (on Led Zeppelin) and out-takes and rough mixes (on LZIIand LZIII).

If you’d like some Led Zeppelin tchotchkes (pins, stickers, 8x8 album cover images), email me at with ZEPPELIN in the subject line (while supplies last).