Los Angeles Music Preview: MUSIC OF WHITACRE AND PÄRT (Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on May 8, 2015

in Theater-Los Angeles


It really was a bit of a revelation. I was always interested in choral music, from Barbershop four-part harmonies to the more intricate passages of Tallis, but I distinctly remember the thrill when first I heard the work of the modern Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. A friend popped a cassette of “Te Deum” into the car player, and I actually had to pull over—I simply did not want to do anything else while listening to this music.


What was that sound so immediately accessible, so new and yet so timeless? My friend and I babbled that it was an exciting blend of chant, avant garde and New Age-y minimalism, but labels were unnecessary (Pärt himself calls his reflective, chant-like approach to compositions “tintinnabuli,” more popularly referred to as “mystic minimalism”). All I knew is that the music made me feel immediately spiritual, creating the same uplifting sensation I get while walking in the forest. Pärt told The Guardian that he wants his music to express “love for every note,” and in turn, communicate the spiritual power that he sees as music’s essential purpose. To find out why Jason Guin said, “It’s what God listens to on His iPod,” head to Disney Hall this weekend where the Los Angeles Master Chorale is presenting a program of the music of Arvo Pärt and Eric Whitacre.

Los Angeles Master Chorale - photo by Lee Salem

While Whitacre writes ridiculously sublime music, and I’m always happy to hear a 115-member chorale perform his work with pitch-perfect perfection, his work seems to be performed more often, perhaps due to the fact that he is a phenom with his social media compositions. But to hear six Pärt pieces in one evening (program is always subject to change) along with Whitacre is almost too much to ask. LAMC is clearly aware of this as they scheduled two concerts in one weekend: Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 7.


I daresay you won’t even want to glance at your program during this concert, so arrive an hour early for a preconcert talk with Music Director Grant Gershon and KUSC Host Alan Chapman, and settle in for what promises to be one of the most beautiful concerts of the year.

Los Angeles Master Chorale LOGOMusic of Eric WHITACRE
“Lux Aurumque”
“Water Night”
“The City and the Sea”
“Sainte Chapelle”

Music of Arvo PÄRT
“Morning Star”
“Missa Syllabica”
“Cantate Domino”
“Veni Creator”
“The Beatitudes”

Music of Whitacre & Pärt
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon, conductor
Lesley Leighton, associate conductor
Szymon Grab, pipe organ
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Saturday, May 16, 2015 – 2 pm
Sunday, May 17, 2015 – 7 pm
for tickets, call (213) 972-7282, or visit www.lamc.org

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