Cappella Romana Deliver Arvo Part’s Spirituality

The liner notes lay out the goal of the Capella Romana. “The mission… is to experience and understand the transcendent beauty of the sacred music of the Christian East and West, especially of Byzantium, cultivating heritage and sharing it worldwide.” That’s one heck of a long sentence. And one heck of a mission.

But that’s what they do, and with this album, they succeed. “Transcended beauty” aptly describes Arvo Pärt’s music. 

Pärt is a deeply spiritual composer and practices the Eastern Orthodox faith. His music is new, yet old. It’s inspired by Medieval and Renaissance music, and by Eastern Orthodox chant. 

This release collects Odes of Repentance from various Pärt compositions. There are selections from “triodion.” Kanon Pokajanen (Kanon of Repentance), “Zwei slawische Psalmen,” and a few stand-alone works. 

The subject matter gives the program a stylistic cohesiveness. These are songs of penance. They are slow, quiet works. There’s a hint of sorrow, but mostly introspection. And introspection is one of Pärt’s strengths.

The Capella Romana delivers beautifully sung performances with hushed reverence. Director Alexander Lingas brings out Pärt’s spirituality through the choir’s singing.

When it’s time to get off the merry-go-round of daily life, play this album. It can transport you to a world of quiet contemplation. And that’s not a bad thing at all.  

Arvo Pärt: Odes of Repentance
Cappella Romana; Alexander Lingas, director
Cappella Records

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