Album Review

Part, Arvo – “Tabula Rasa ” – [Ecm Records]

loun   7/7/2007   A Library, CD

This is music which explores the wilderness in simple garb. Arvo Part (sometimes spelled Paart and pronounced, approximately, “Pierre-t”) composed these pieces during his ’74-’76 binge (Part is noted for long silent periods between periods of intense output), and these recordings date from the early 80’s, except Tabula Rasa, which was captured in ’77. There is an undeniable spiritual element to his work, although it is more of an internal spirituality, and one can lose oneself in it without fear of betrayal.

The first piece to consider is the Cantus (track 2), which rains down like liquid sunshine. After that are the two Fratres, fraternal twins, which resemble each other but are nonetheless unique, track 1 being a sparse and probing piano and violin version, track 3 being aa warm and inviting version played with 12 cellos (yes, 12 cellos!). Finally, the Tabula Rasa takes us on a long and winding journey through the confines of our soul. This is one of the most replayable discs I have ever listened to, with comforting warmth and simplicity coupled with ever unfolding exploration. Highly recommended.

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