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Monday, Nov. 15, 2010

Arvo Prt

Cantique (Sony Masterworks)

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Estonian composer Arvo Prt and conductor Kristjan Jrvi were both refugees from Soviet cultural oppression. Jrvi’s father was a friend of the composer—when the two men worked together at Estonian Radio-Television in the ’60s—and Jrvi continues the family relationship by conducting a Berlin orchestra and chorus on the world-premiere recording of Prt’s Stabat mater and Cantique des degrés along with his 1971 Symphony No. 3. Prt’s music floats heavenward toward a transcendent experience where time melds with space. It can be heard as a development parallel to the Buddhist-steeped minimalism of Philip Glass or the Indonesian gamelan behind Steve Reich, yet appreciated for its distinct, evanescent beauty without reference to any musical movement.