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Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's music is celebrated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a performance of his choral work Kanon Pokajanen at the Temple of Dendur. (AFP/Getty Images)

Music By Arvo Pärt, From The Met Museum's Temple Of Dendur

by Mark Mobley
May 28, 2014 (Q2)

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Arvo Prt's devout, contemplative, seemingly timeless music speaks to modern listeners as almost no other composer's does. It has the purity and gravity of monastic chant, the clarity of minimalism and a profound spirituality. These qualities have helped it find a broad audience outside the confines of classical music. Prt's music has been used in films like There Will be Blood and Fahrenheit 9/11 and even TV's So You Think You Can Dance.

This live broadcast from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir — with the 78-year-old composer attending — will show not just the bracing beauty of his work but the depth and richness of his native country's singing tradition. The chorus and founding conductor Tnu Kaljuste won a 2013 Grammy for their recording of Prt's Adam's Lament.

Kanon Pokajanen (Canon of Repentance) is a setting of 7th-century text by St. Andrew of Crete for voices alone. The piece was commissioned to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the cathedral in Cologne, Germany and premiered there in 1998. This performance is amidst even older architecture — the Temple of Dendur, a 2,000-year-old Egyptian building housed in the museum's Sackler Wing.

Program:

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

Tnu Kaljuste, conductor

PRT: Kanon Pokajanen

  • Ode I
  • Ode III
  • Ode IV
  • Ode V
  • Ode VI
  • Kondakion
  • Ikos
  • Ode VII
  • Ode VIII
  • Ode IX
  • Prayer after the Canon

English translations of the Church Slavonic texts (and the originals) may be found here.

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