Arvo Part - Alina

As far as instruments go, the piano is simply a favorite of mine. There is something about the voice inside a big grand piano that feels so alive. It’s an instrument that often needs no other to accompany it because of its strength and ability to hold so much emotion within each note but still contains enough space within its sound that vocals or other instruments can co exist with it beautifully when done well. This album holds true for both of these reasonings. It is easily one of the most sparse records I have ever heard and is almost like a soundtrack to silence in my mind. With the first notes stuck you are somehow sucked into its simplicity and its hard not to imagine the world around you slow down as you listen. A beautiful record for any given moment in your life where you need some sort of audible delicate touch.

Also, for further explanation of the music here I will refer you to this text from the amazon page which is a straightforward explanation of the music’s more technical side: “This is a remarkable release, both for its beauty and its novelty at programming. Für Alina is a two-minute solo piano piece composed by Pärt in l976 that ushered in his "tintinnabuli" style, that is, the bell-like, simple, no-notes-wasted method for which he has become beloved and famous. On this CD, pianist Alexander Malter plays it twice, as the second and fourth tracks; each iteration takes almost 11 minutes (Pärt assumed it would be embellished, and he chose this pair for the CD). There are minute variations in tempo, emphasis, and rubato from one to the other, but, all that being said, it amounts to 22 minutes of the most beautiful, contemplative music ever performed. Almost equally gentle is Spiegel im Spiegel, played as tracks 1, 3 and 5 and scored for piano and, respectively, violin, cello, and then violin again. The instruments mirror one another (Spiegel is German for mirror), with notes added to the scale with each repetition, and so on. Almost impossible to describe in its loveliness, each of the three sets is beautiful; the cello in track 3 gives it extra mellowness. This is music staggering in its simple complexity and a treat for the ear and heart. --Robert Levine

iTunes Link Artist Site (in this case its a wikipedia link)