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Monday, August 14, 2017

Arvo Pärt - Piano Music (Ralph van Raat)


Composer: Arvo Pärt
  • (01-05) Zwei Sonatinen für Klavier, Op. 1, Nr. 1
  • (06-09) Partita, Op. 2
  • (10-15) Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka
  • (16) Für Alina
  • (17) Für Anna Maria
  • (18-27) Lamentate: Hommage to Anish Kapoor and his Sculpture 'Marsyas'

Ralph van Raat, piano
Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic
JoAnn Falletta, conductor (18-27)

Date: 2011
Label: Naxos



PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: ****

This is a well-conceived crash-course in significant moments in the development of Pärt’s music. The best-known piece included is Für Alina. The others will be refreshingly unfamiliar to most people (indeed, the perky miniature Für Anna Maria is a premiere recording) and Ralph van Raat plays them with both sensitivity and verve.

The programme opens with Pärt’s earliest published works, Zwei Sonatinen (1958/9) and Partita (1959), written when he had just begun to attend Tallinn Conservatory. He was still influenced by Prokofiev and Shostakovich but, despite the relative busyness of the lines, they create an ambience of light and air so characteristic of his work after Für Alina (1976) with which he unveiled his tintinnabuli style.

During the winter of 2002-03 Anish Kapoor’s gigantic sculpture, Marsyas, was exhibited at Tate Modern and made Pärt feel he stood before his own body after death. The experience prompted some startling developments in his music, which previously seemed so serene and confident in its faith. With its visceral Romantic gestures convincingly realised by JoAnn Falletta, Lamentate, a reaction to Kapoor’s work, is imbued with a sense of anxiety. Dark textures and violent outbursts, recalling Pärt’s early avant-garde style, almost conceal the underpinning tintinnabulist matrix.

-- Barry WitherdenBBC Music Magazine

More reviews:


Arvo Pärt (born 11 September 1935 in Paide, Järva County, Estonia) is an Estonian composer of classical and sacred music. Pärt's music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. He is considered a pioneer of holy minimalism, along with Henryk Górecki and John Tavener. His most performed works include Fratres (1977), Spiegel im Spiegel (1978), and Für Alina (1976). Pärt has been the most performed living composer in the world for five consecutive years.


Ralph van Raat (born 1978) is a Dutch classical pianist. He studied music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and musicology at the University of Amsterdam. Van Raat then studied with Claude Helffer in Paris, Ursula Oppens at Northwestern University, Liisa Pohjola in Finland, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. Van Raat has performed as a recitalist and soloist in Europe and around the world, and has a special interest in contemporary classical music. He has recorded a number of CDs as an exclusive artist for the Naxos label.


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