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We send our warmest greetings to the composer Arvo Pärt, who celebrates his 80th birthday on 11 September.

A native of Estonia, Arvo Pärt at first wrote in a style perceptibly influenced by Russian composers. Having then explored the 12-note system through the 1960s, he developed his own tonal technique which he calls ‘tintinnabuli’ (after the bell-like impression of notes in a triad). This technique has been employed in many works since, and are often coloured by the influence of early musical traditions and Pärt’s deep religious feeling.

Naxos 8.558182-83
Listen to an extract from
Pro et Contra:
III. Allegro

Arvo Pärt: A Portrait
His Works • His Life
  • 2 CDs with over 2½ hours of music
  • Richly illustrated with rarely seen photographs
  • Detailed essay by Nick Kimberley

The music of Arvo Pärt draws on traditions stretching back across the centuries, yet it could only have been written by someone who had lived through the complexities and contradictions of the last half-century. In his native Estonia, his early music incurred the wrath of the Soviet authorities; when he moved to the West, his style offended against prevailing notions of taste and creativity. But at every stage, Pärt has pursued his own musical vision. Here is a survey of Pärt's career, from early experiments with serialism, through musical collages that took their inspiration from Bach, to the discovery of his distinctive 'tintinnabuli' style, which unleashed a flood of innovative and fascinating new pieces.

CDs include music from Fratres, Passio, Spiegel im Spiegel, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, Collage über B-A-C-H, the cello concerto Pro et contra, and many other works.

“An outstanding performance of "For Alina" by Alexei Lubimov begins the Naxos two-CD "Portrait" of Pärt, which includes a wide selection of excerpts from his oeuvre along with a handy 78-page booklet introducing him and his music. . .you will discover a composer who keeps trying to get inside the timbres of instruments, of voices and of the texts that he sets.” – Los Angeles Times

Tabula Rasa
Symphony No. 3

“This is the perfect introductory disc to Pärt's music – and above all, no one's collection of 20th-century music should be without this performance of Tabula Rasa.”

Piano music

“This is a well conceived crash-course in significant moments in the development of Pärt’s music. The best-known piece included is Für Alina. The others will be refreshingly unfamiliar to most people ... and Ralph van Raat plays with both sensitivity and verve.”
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

  Listen to an extract from
Piano Sonatine Op1. No.2:
III. Allegro

Fratres / Festina Lente / Summa
Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten

“…very fine, splendidly played and richly recorded.”
Penguin Guide ★★★

Berliner Messe

“Singing as honest and beautiful as this is never surplus to requirements.”
BBC Music Magazine

Music for unaccompanied choir

“Exquisite also describes the performances of the Elora Festival Singers, who provide pure-toned and texturally beautiful singing under Noel Edison’s direction. A truly enjoyable hour of music, essential for Pärt aficionados and choral enthusiasts.”

  Listen to an extract from
Dopo la vittoria


“Antony Pitts' Tonus Peregrinus deliver an elegantly agile and eloquent performance of depth
and distinction.”

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Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group