Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Arvo Pärt - Spiegel im Spiegel (Jürgen Kruse, et al - 2007 release)

After all that racket last time, some more pure, serene beauty and quietitude.  This collection, released in 2007 on the Naxos-esque Dutch label Brilliant Classics, is based around one of Arvo Pärt's best known instrumental works, Spiegel im Spiegel (1978).  Used in dozens of films and TV docus as superior soundtrack music, the title of this piece for piano plus [instrument of choice] means 'mirrors in mirrors', or infinity mirror effect, which has a bearing on the structure of the musical phrases.

This album is structured around three versions of Spiegel; first with violin, then viola, then (my favourite) cello.  As with the more famous ECM release Alina, we also get Für Alina for solo piano (1976), a model of pure tonal economy and zen-like stillness.  Unlike the ECM disc, we get a bit more variety here, with the addition of a less well known piano piece in the same tintinnabuli style that Pärt was then developing.  Variationen Zur Gesundung Von Arinuschka (Variations for the Healing of Arinushka) (1977) is a little more lively, moving from a sad to joyful tonality, but is very much cut from the same cloth as Alina, and complements it well.

Between the second and third Spiegels, this disc also adds Pärt's Mozart-Adagio for violin, cello and piano (1992/1997, from Mozart's Piano Sonata in F major (K 280)).  It's a bit out of character from the rest of the programme, and I’m no big fan of Wolfgang Amadeus, but I suppose it’s a breather from the relentless mellowness, and you can always program it out if you find that the sudden change in style breaks the extended meditative mood.

Ruhig, erhaben, in sich hineinhorchend


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