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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Arvo Paert's Symphony No. 4: A Masterful Work in The Tradition, But Also in the Paert Tradition

The new Symphony No. 4 (Los Angeles) by Arvo Paert has the sonic epic qualities of a high romantic symphony, but with the transparency and post-Minimalist soundscaped quality that Paert creates so distinctly.

The ECM New Series (2160 B0014663-02) recording of the work by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Esa-Pekka Salonen has great majesty along with the proper ambiance Paert's music demands. You get those highly original Paertian harmonic progressions, the spaces, the dramatic contrasts. It portrays a somber, tragic-toned mood. That has something to do with its dedication to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been incarcerated in a Russian prison since 2003 for reasons that may well be political.

It is an ambitious work, fully worthy of the symphonic appellation given (perhaps more so than some of his earlier symphonies). Fragments from Paert's Kanon Pokajanen round out the program.

Highly recommended.

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