Pärt Piano Music by Naxos features pianist Ralph van Raat interpreting the Estonian composer’s music spanning over four decades. This retrospective takes us on a stylistic journey that is truly millennial in scope, while remaining reverent in spirit.
The first of the Zwei Sonatinen, Op. 1 (1958), shares much of the language of Pärt’s elder contemporary, Shostakovich, with acrobatic melodies supported by harmonies that become only occasionally dissonant, and then only through linear voice-leading. Ralph van Raat plays the allegro passages with a digital precision characteristic of post-war piano music. He imbues the largo passages, though, with a touching impressionistic quality. The second sonatina (1959) is quite another animal, with a jazzy improvisatory feel, recalling the dizzying flights of Oscar Peterson.