Pärt: Berliner Mass (CD Review - American Record Guide, 1998)

Far from being inaccessible, Arvo Pärt's music is mesmerising, and this collection immerses the listener into a deep pool of tone colours. Pärt's De Profundis is the most powerful setting of Psalm 130 I've yet encountered. Sombre and darkly hewn, scored as it is for male voices, organ, bass drum, tam-tam and a single tubular bell, it remains, for me, the crowning glory of the disc. The Berliner Mass has a similarly ancient feel to it. Monolithic and granite-like, I commend it to all those who haven't had the 'Pärt'experience yet.

Annum per Annum , a solo organ piece is impeccably played at St Paul's Cathedral by Andrew Lucas; a superb medium for the tintinnabulous sounds that Pärt's score demands.

Stephen Layton fine-tunes Polyphony – this Roll-Royce of singing machines – with the deftness of a master craftsman. The results are always stunning, be they Arvo Pärt or any other composer. Add Andrew Lucas's peerless accompanyment and this CD becomes a landmark recording. Go and buy it.

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