This page has been archived and is no longer updated.Find out more about page archiving.

Arvo Pärt Lamentate Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Two new works by the Estonian master - the Hilliard Ensemble sing a prayer for peace,...

Andrew McGregor 2005

Is the Estonian master moving in a new direction in his seventies? He seems to be telling us as much in Lamentate. Yes, you'll hear some of the multi-layered string sonorities and meditative qualities that have become so familiar in Pärt's patented 'ancient-invades-modern' scores, and yet there's a new sense of dramatic power, and a dynamic scale and impatient urgency of communication that's compelling.

Pärt was looking at Anish Kapoor's immense sculpture 'Marsyas', named after the Greek satyr who was flayed alive after losing a musical contest with Apollo. Pärt felt as though he was looking at his own dead body, and had a strong sense that he was not yet ready to what could he achieve in the time he had left to live?

On this evidence, a great deal. 'Lamentate' is a lament not for the dead but the living, struggling with the pain and hopelessness of the world. After a subterranean rumble, a sorrowful fanfare makes way for an ascent of the solo piano keyboard, and a shuddering orchestral climax that sets the tolling of alarm bells against a Mahlerian funeral march. After the work that precedes it (the Hilliard Ensemble's performance of 'Da pacem Domine', a gently rocking prayer for peace) the effect is doubly shattering. Impressive performances, a seductive ECM recording, and works that no-one with an interest in contemporary art and music can afford to miss.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.