Put together a man with humble spirit, who jettisoned decades of brilliant compositions and endured eight years of fitful starts until birthing his distinct voice, tintinnabuli (Latin for “little bells”)—and you will encounter the Estonian genius of Arov Part (1935).

A chance listening of his Miserere (1992) that was performed by the Radio Choir of Latvia and the Los Angeles Philharmonic poured balm upon my painful convalescence that was caused by last July’s accident. It also afforded me a lens through which to view the fractured world around us, tottering upon extinction.

This forty-six minute piece conjoins the Hebrew Psalm 51 with the Latin hymn, Dies irae, the Medieval Sequence found in the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead. Part’s intimacy with the living Word of God shimmers within the silent pauses that punctuate this work and seep into the marrow of our bones. Such is manifested through the interplay of the five soloists and chorus and the accompanying horns, woodwinds, percussion, organ, and two electric guitars. The overall effect is a new texture of the phenomenon of mercy that wraps us within wordlessness. We are made whole.

Part’s Miserere can be experienced on YouTube.

 

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