Holiday discs 2012: Arvo Pärt's Adam’s Lament

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Arvo Pärt
Adam’s Lament

A collection of music with the word lament in the title is certainly in keeping with the generally morose tone of this year’s Christmas releases. (Did I mention that not only is Joni Mitchell’s now-ubiquitous “River” not actually a Christmas song, but it also makes me want to douse myself in kerosene and light myself up like a human yule log?) Performed by the Latvian Radio Choir, Vox Clamantis, and Sinfonietta Riga, the 24-minute title composition of this new album of works by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is as sombre as you might expect. It also happens to be a gorgeous and meditative piece of music. It’s not a seasonally specific work, but the disc does conclude with the relatively short (2:27) and much less mournful “Christmas Prayer”, so you can put it on shuffle with Kidz Bop Christmas and no one will even notice.

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