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December 9 , 2010

Tabula rasa is Editor’s Choice

ECM’s special edition of “Tabula rasa” is Reissue of the month in the January 2011 issue of Gramophone. “As collectors’ editions go, this is a beauty, complete with study scores and essays.”

Reviewer Rob Cowan writes: “The iconic blue, grey and white CD cover has now become a book cover, which, given the original album’s significance is hardly surprising. Pärt’s impeccable ear, sense of musical timing and deep spiritual engagement helped alter the way we listened in the late 20th century. Far from wearing off, the novelty of Pärt’s austerely meditative style has since become an essential component of our musical lives in the 21st century (…) The book includes perceptively written contributions from Paul Griffiths and Wolfgang Sandner as well as a very instructive first-ever publication of facsimiles of the manuscripts for ‘Tabula rasa’ and the ‘Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten’, and beautifully printed study scores of all five works. This extremely handsome production is a worthy tribute to what is without any shadow of a doubt one of the great recordings of the last century.”

This “deluxe” edition of “Tabula rasa”, with the original album now part of a book, makes an ideal Christmas gift for anyone who loves Pärt’s music. With that thought in mind, we also recommend the Estonian composer’s newest release, the recently Grammy-nominated “Symphony No. 4”.

Part can also be heard at the centre of “Officium novum” by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, where his “Most Holy Mother of God”, written for the English singers, is given a glowing interpretation.

Other seasonal recommendations? The energetic advocacy of violinist Gidon Kremer, key protagonist of “Tabula rasa”, contributed to recognition for Pärt in the West, and Kremer continues to champion music outside the mainstream. Hear him also on two ECM autumn releases, with the Kremerata Baltica on “Hymns and Prayers” and with Dino Saluzzi and Andrey Pushkarev on “Themes from the Songbook”, a remarkable exploration of Giya Kancheli’s music for film and theatre.