Part - Kanon Pokajanen
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Label: Harmonia Mundi
Cat No: HMC905274
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 21st October 2016
He was commissioned by KölnMusic GmbH to write a work commemorating the 750th anniversary of the building of Cologne Cathedral. He finished it in 1997 and it premiered at Cologne Cathedral on 17 March 1998.
Kanon Pokajanen exhibits characteristics of Pärt's tinntinabular style and the piece remains almost exclusively in D minor, deviating only in particularly expressive passages and sometimes final cadences. Overall, the melodies and harmonies remain fairly static throughout.
Perhaps the greatest of the 'holy minimalists' (along with Henryk Górecki and Sir John Tavener), Arvo Pärt describes his encounter with the text and the history of setting this text to music thus:
"Many years ago, when I first became involved in the tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church, I came across a text that made a profound impression on me although I cannot have understood it at the time. It was the Canon of Repentance. Since then I have often returned these verses, slowly and arduously seeking to unfold their meaning. Two choral compositions (Nun eile ich...., 1990 and Memento, 1994) were the first attempts to approach the canon. I then decided to set it to music in its entirety - from beginning to end. This allowed me to stay with it, to devote myself to it; and, at the very least, its hold on me did not abate until I had finished the score. I had a similar experience while working on Passio. It took over two years to compose the Kanon pokajanen, and the time 'we spent together' was extremely enriching. That may explain why this music means so much to me."
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