Arvo Pärt. The Symphonies – a new record from ECM

ECM Records will release a new CD, Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies, featuring all four symphonies by Pärt. These orchestral works from the composer’s different creative periods are performed by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste.

Arvo Pärt maintains that each of his symphonies is a world unto itself and points in a different direction. A compass is necessary to determine that direction.

The compositions are arranged in chronological order, giving an idea of Pärt’s musical journey.

In presenting the works together, Tõnu Kaljuste considers them a single grand symphony. “I perceive Arvo Pärt’s creations as a biographical narrative, and hope that with the sound of the entirety of the music on this album we can refresh our memory of Pärt’s journey. It began with an entry into the neo-classical and serialist world, moved on with a composition that incorporated the use of collage, continued under the influence of early sacred music and – with Symphony No. 4 – arrived at something like confessional music, with a sound world supported by prayer, penitence and suffering.”

Tõnu Kaljuste and the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic recorded all four symphonies at the Wrocław National Music Forum. Symphony No. 3 was recorded in October 2015, Symphonies No. 1, 2 and 4 in August 2016.

NFM Wrocław Philharmonic was founded in 1945, and operated until 1949 as both a symphony and opera orchestra. In 1954, the Witold Lutosławski Philharmonic was formed as an independent symphony orchestra from the same collective of musicians. With the opening of the Wrocław National Forum of Music in 2015, the orchestra was renamed the NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic.

Tõnu Kaljuste has recorded numerous works by Pärt, which have been released by ECM on the records Te Deum, Litany, Kanon Pokajanen, Orient. Occident and In Principio among others. In 2014, Kaljuste was awarded a Grammy in the category of Best Choral Performance for his recording of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament.

The new record is accompanied by a 27-page booklet with Wolfgang Sandner’s thorough essay on Arvo Pärt’s symphonic works.

Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies will be released on 20 April. The record can be streamed here.