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Ralph van Raat - Arvo Part: Piano Music (2011)

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Ralph van Raat - Arvo Part: Piano Music (2011)

Ralph van Raat - Arvo Pärt: Piano Music (2011)
Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, conducted by JoAnn Falletta

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 218 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 173 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: Naxos | # 8.572525 | Time: 01:05:50

Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat's collection of Arvo Pärt's piano music spans nearly 50 years of his career, from student pieces written in 1958 to a work from 2006. This would not be the right album for listeners looking primarily for Pärt's legendary austere simplicity, but it would be ideal for anyone already familiar with the composer looking for exposure to the broad stylistic and expressive range of which he is capable. The two Sonatinas, Op. 1, are often reminiscent of Prokofiev's vivacity and lyricism, and are witty, engaging pieces. The 1959 Partita, Op. 2, while employing serial procedures, is still largely tonal and nowhere near as daunting as the cutting-edge avant-garde of the period. Für Alina, from 1976, was one of Pärt's breakthrough pieces, in which he wholeheartedly embraced the principles of simplicity, quiet, and the significance of the silences between notes; this work marks the beginnings of the revolutionary sound for which Pärt is best known. Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka, in six very brief movements, written the following year, inhabits the same contemplative, uncluttered, unhurried soundworld. Much of it, in fact, consists of a single melodic line. The most recent piece on the album, the entirely tonal, gently arppegiated Für Anna Maria, from 2006 has a sweetness that sounds almost new age. Lamentate: Homage to Anish Kapoor and his sculpture "Marsyas," (2002), at 35 minutes, is essentially a piano concerto and stands in stark contrast to the other works both in scope and tone. The sculpture is phenomenally large, ten stories high and nearly 500 feet long, and Pärt's work is appropriately monumental. It's not particularly grand in traditional terms, but its long silences and dramatic timbres still convey a sense of vastness. Van Raat, a champion of new music, plays with sensitivity and appropriate simplicity in the later works and has no trouble making the virtuosic sonatinas sparkle. JoAnn Falletta expertly leads Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic in the spare accompaniment in Lamentate. Naxos' sound is clean, present, and realistic.

Review by Stephen Eddins, Allmusic.com

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was still a student when his two Sonatinas op.1 and the Partita op.2 were published. It is unlikely that anyone familiar only with Pärt the modernist of the 1960s or the more tonal-mystical composer from the Eighties onwards would be able to name him as the creator of these early earthy, neo-classical-cum-impressionist, Shostakovich-meets-Ravel pieces. In his notes, Dutch pianist Ralph van Raat writes that in these works "all the seeds of his later musical language are already firmly present: echoes of early music […], a direct focus on expression […], a predilection for the ostinato form […] and a general economy of material with an omnipresent focus on melody." Yet listening to the martial atonality of much of the Partita, for example, many listeners will suspect that even Pärt's own mother would barely recognise him. More probably, these two works mark the advent of a composer who more or less metamorphosed into a different one a few years later, and another one after that.

A first glimpse of the Spiegel-im-Spiegel Pärt is afforded by the Variations for the Recovery of Arinuschka, and then the slightly earlier and darkly reflective Für Alina. This latter was in fact the piece that heralded Pärt's so-called 'tintinnabular' style, through which he has achieved popular fortune and, perhaps, a certain amount of critical infamy as he emerged in the mid-Seventies from artistic hibernation following his uncompromisingly modernist works of the Sixties. According to Pärt, "Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers - in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning." After Spiegel im Spiegel came the well-known Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten and the variants of Fratres. The beauty of these pieces lies undoubtedly in their simplicity, but any profundity likely depends heavily on the individual listener, for whom they may be deeply moving or rather boring. Others may blame Pärt for Ludovico Einaudi.

Für Anna Maria, on the other hand, his latest piano piece, is a minute - in both senses - cameo in G major harking back two and a half centuries, like something young Wolfgang Amadeus wrote when he was six (which is not an insult to Pärt) - in fact it was composed for the birthday of a ten-year-old girl. This is the only premiere recording in van Raat's programme.

The major work is Lamentate. Pärt's music would have to go some way to match the dimensions of Anish Kapoor's steel 'n' PVC alien spaceship 'Marsyas', which was displayed from 2002 to 2003 by London's Tate Modern museum, which commissioned Pärt's work for the occasion. Pärt viewed Kapoor's grandiloquent creation, as artistic types are wont to do, as a "confrontation with mortality", and Lamentate (or LamenTate) thus doubles up as a "lament for those who suffer from pain and hopelessness" - which is presumably everyone, though Pärt is not specific. Listener-friendly, tonal, atmospheric, introspective: this magical work is a pan-temporal filmic-Lisztian hybrid of expansive, elegiac soundscapes that often approach stasis. What sets Pärt apart from other 'minimalists' is that he has the genius to create beauty, drama and variety out of very little apparent material - his music almost always evokes a sense of depth, even if the words Pärt uses to write about it are often vacantly New Age.

On the subject of which, Ralph van Raat's notes for Naxos have been criticised elsewhere for their hyperbolic nature. It may be toned down here but it still exhibits an occasional tendency towards spiritual fustian, not content with opening with a gratuitous quotation from the New Testament. Thus: "Arvo Pärt has followed the quest for musical expression within the microcosm of his inner self, a journey of introspection rather than exposure." Van Raat sums up Pärt's music with an almost surreal reverence that borders on gibberish: "Understanding the music of Arvo Pärt requires an open and receptive attitude. [The] gateway to the colours and messages behind the musical surface can only be encoded by an unprecedented focus and concentration. This focus can only originate from total silence, which will only be broken when it necessarily needs to be. His music then just conveys the essentials: the essentials of life and death."

As a pianist, fortunately, van Raat is generally immaculate. He has recorded several CDs for Naxos over the last three or four years, specialising in contemporary music. Discs include Gavin Bryars' Piano Concerto with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic in their own Naxos debut, released earlier this year (review), as well as the solo piano music of John Adams (8.559285), John Tavener (review), Frederic Rzewski (review), Hans Otte (review) and Magnus Lindberg (review). In each case van Raat's pianism was the recipient of enthusiastic thumbs-ups. Here he gives another fine performance characterised by expressive, dexterous and highly polished proportions.

Sound quality too is good. The CD booklet is the usual kind of thing from Naxos, reasonable detail in a tiny font. It is a pity that Naxos and van Raat could not see their way to recording Pärt's two other works for solo piano to date, his Diagramme op.11 and, predating his op.1, the Four Easy Dances: not only would they both have fitted on the disc, but each appears to have been recorded only once previously on CD.

Review by Rob Barnett, Musicweb-International.com

Ralph van Raat - Arvo Part: Piano Music (2011)



Ralph van Raat - Arvo Part: Piano Music (2011)



Tracklist:

Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.1 (1958-9)
01. I. Allegro (02:25)
02. II. Larghetto - Allegro (04:05)

Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.2 (1958-9)
03. I. Allegro energico (01:47)
04. II. Largo (02:13)
05. III. Allegro (01:40)

Partita, Op. 2 (1958)
06. I. Toccatina (00:45)
07. II. Fughetta (01:02)
08. III. Larghetto (03:08)
09. IV. Ostinato (02:11)

Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka (1977)
10. I. Variation 1: Moderato (01:12)
11. II. Variation 2 (01:13)
12. III. Variation 3 (01:06)
13. IV. Variation 4: Piu mosso (00:47)
14. V. Variation 5 (01:01)
15. VI. Variation 6 (01:07)

16. Für Alina (03:24)

17. Für Anna Maria (01:12)

Lamentate: Homage to Anish Kapoor and his Scultpure 'Marsyas',
for piano and orchestra (2002)
18. I. Minacciando (03:10)
19. II. Spietato (03:31)
20. III. Fragile (00:57)
21. IV. Pregando (05:07)
22. V. Solitudine - stato d'anomo (05:31)
23. VI. Consolante (01:10)
24. VII. Stridendo (01:23)
25. VIII. Lamentabile (05:13)
26. IX. Risolutamente (02:46)
27. X. Fragile e conciliante (06:31)


Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 1 from 15. November 2010

EAC extraction logfile from 31. October 2011, 17:24

Arvo Part / Piano Music

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==== Log checksum 2188D542763DC7B7942743BD5F1A3FDC39E017C004DDC74CB88A4FE33317D6A3 ====

foobar2000 1.3.8 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2015-11-28 16:16:22

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Ralph van Raat / Piano Music
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR13 -3.08 dB -20.35 dB 2:25 01-Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.1 - I. Allegro
DR15 0.00 dB -25.30 dB 4:06 02-Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.1 - II. Larghetto - Allegro
DR12 -4.00 dB -21.76 dB 1:48 03-Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.2 - I. Allegro energico
DR16 -11.62 dB -33.86 dB 2:14 04-Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.2 - II. Largo
DR13 -0.38 dB -18.47 dB 1:40 05-Zwei Sonatinen fur Klavier, Op.1, Nr.2 - III. Allegro
DR11 -2.61 dB -18.67 dB 0:45 06-Partita, Op.2 - I. Toccatina
DR11 -6.68 dB -21.57 dB 1:02 07-Partita, Op.2 - II. Fughetta
DR15 -3.23 dB -25.13 dB 3:09 08-Partita, Op.2 - III. Larghetto
DR13 -1.37 dB -20.72 dB 2:12 09-Partita, Op.2 - IV. Ostinato
DR16 -18.69 dB -40.47 dB 1:12 10-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - I. Variation 1: Moderato
DR14 -19.89 dB -38.69 dB 1:14 11-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - II. Variation 2
DR13 -15.43 dB -33.72 dB 1:07 12-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - III. Variation 3
DR13 -15.88 dB -33.74 dB 0:47 13-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - IV. Variation 4: Piu mosso
DR13 -19.79 dB -38.17 dB 1:01 14-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - V. Variation 5
DR12 -9.32 dB -26.80 dB 1:07 15-Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka - VI. Variation 6
DR14 -18.68 dB -45.13 dB 3:24 16-Fur Alina
DR11 -10.74 dB -26.61 dB 1:12 17-Fur Anna Maria
DR15 -0.35 dB -22.71 dB 3:11 18-Lamentate - I. Minacciando
DR12 0.00 dB -15.67 dB 3:31 19-Lamentate - II. Spietato
DR15 -26.82 dB -48.11 dB 0:57 20-Lamentate - III. Fragile
DR14 -5.02 dB -27.07 dB 5:08 21-Lamentate - IV. Pregando
DR15 -17.01 dB -39.76 dB 5:31 22-Lamentate - V. Solitudine - stato d'anomo
DR12 -5.36 dB -25.63 dB 1:11 23-Lamentate - VI. Consolante
DR11 -1.38 dB -15.53 dB 1:24 24-Lamentate - VII. Stridendo
DR14 -9.34 dB -29.77 dB 5:14 25-Lamentate - VIII. Lamentabile
DR12 -0.12 dB -19.08 dB 2:46 26-Lamentate - IX. Risolutamente
DR16 -11.85 dB -35.78 dB 6:32 27-Lamentate - X. Fragile e conciliante
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 27
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 416 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Ralph van Raat - Arvo Part: Piano Music (2011)

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