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Berliner Messe

Pärt's music casts its speel with the simplest of means.Such purity is not easily achieved, neither by composer nor performers. Critic Peter G.Davis describes the musical syntax as "diatonic melodies,clearly defined rhythmic patterns,consonant harmonic textures that coalesce into long,arching spans during which time seems to stand still."

the berliner messe is intended to be sung liturgically during Pentecost,and includes the Veni Sancte Spiritus specificto that service. The gently unfolding repetiton deliberately avoids dramatic and pictorial elements, exuding quiet dignity and a profound sense of joy.

The vocal scores have almost no interpretive markings. Dynamics and tempi are left to the performers;it is their task to experience and communicate the rich spiritual possibilities offered in the music.

The work is devout and transparent. For the willing listener,it can be a clear window into the soul.

The poet Rika Lesser,in writing to thecomposer, expresses the riveting effect of Pärt's music: "Yours is the only music I've ever wanted to live inside. Sometimes I wish that the music would stop, congeal, erect a lasting structure around me, one that would silently vibrate and, resonating, enclose me...forever..."

Richard Brown
Koch Classics-1993
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