Kanon Pokajanen - Arvo Part, 2 CD Set

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
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Arvo Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen is an unqualified masterpiece. Although he's previously written music with similar notions of harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic economy, this work successfully incorporates and develops material that in this context easily could become unwieldy. The texts are taken from the canon of repentance of the Russian Orthodox Church, a subject that has occupied the composer for many years. These songs of transformation "invoke the border between day and night ... prophecy and fulfillment, the here and the hereafter." Supervised by the composer, this performance by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is pure gold, and likely will remain the definitive recording. Pärt's music rises from gentle valleys to impressive dramatic heights; from single voices to full choir. Here is 83 minutes of exquisite a cappella music in which time and space seem one, and rhythms find their place in a perfect synchrony with breathing and heartbeat. Whether any of this is conscious on the composer's part is incidental. Pärt is tuned into something that finds and touches us all. --David Vernier