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September 10 , 2010

Arvo Pärt at 75

The great Estonian composer Arvo Pärt turns 75 on September 11, and ECM is marking this anniversary with two releases. Already available is “Symphony No. 4” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen; the disc is completed by a new montage of “Fragments” of Kanon Pokajanen, with Tõnu Kaljuste and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir – this is a work which is closely related to the 4th Symphony.

Coming very soon is a special edition of “Tabula Rasa”, the epochal album first issued in 1984 when the composer and ECM producer Manfred Eicher had just begun their collaboration. The new edition, prepared in association with publisher Universal Edition includes a 200 page hardback book with scores and facsimiles of Pärt’s previously unpublished handwritten manuscripts, which make for fascinating study. The book also contains writings and photos from the original release and a new introduction by Paul Griffiths. The disc itself, of course, features an astonishing cast playing compositions which are meanwhile amongst the best-loved in Pärt’s oeuvre. Namely: “Fratres” (with Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarrett), “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten” (with Dennis Russell Davies and the Staatsorchester Stuttgart), “Fratres” (twelve cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic), and “Tabula Rasa” itself (with Alfred Schnittke on prepared piano, Gidon Kremer and Tatjana Grindenko on violins and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under Saulius Sondeckis).

A third autumn release that includes Pärt’s music is “Officium Novum” the new album by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble. Here you’ll find an a cappella reading of “Most Holy Mother of God”, a piece written especially for the Hilliard voices. One UK journalist has already opined that the transition, on this disc, from Komitas’s “Surb Surb” into the Pärt piece is “one of the most heart stopping moments in the whole of ECM...”

For detailed information about Pärt birthday celebration, and much more, we recommend a visit to the web site of the International Arvo Pärt Centre: http://part.cma.ee