Arvo Pärt: Cantique des degrés

Arvo Pärt Cantique des degrés
Cantique des degrés

Arvo Pärt: Cantique des degrés

Year of composition:
1999/2002
Scored for:
for mixed choir and orchestra
Composer:
Arvo Pärt
Choir:
SATB
Instrumentation:
2 2 2 2 - 4 2 2 1 - timp, perc, str
Instrumentation details:
1st flute
2nd flute
1st oboe
2nd oboe
1st clarinet in Bb
2nd clarinet in Bb
1st bassoon
2nd bassoon
1st horn in F
2nd horn in F
3rd horn in F
4th horn in F
1st trumpet in C
2nd trumpet in C
1st trombone
2nd trombone
tuba
timpani
percussion
violin I
violin II
viola
violoncello
contrabass
Commission:
Œuvre commandée par S.A.R. la Princesse de Hanovre à l'occasion de la Célébration du 50ème Anniversaire de Règne de S.A.S. le Prince Souverain Rainier III de Monaco, créée le 19 novembre 1999, lors de la Messe d'Action de Grâce à la Cathédrale de Monaco
Duration:
7’
Dedication:
À Son Altesse Sérénissime le Prince Rainier III de Monaco
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Audiosamples

Cantique des degrés
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The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

Following an initiative by Princess Caroline of Monaco/Hannover to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the reign of his Highness, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, composer Arvo Pärt was commissioned to compose a work for choir and orchestra. The finished work, Cantique des degrés, received its premiere on 19 November 1999 during a special service in the Cathedral of Monte-Carlo in the presence of the royal family. It was performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique and the opera choir, both of Monte-Carlo, and conducted by Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste. 

Cantique des degrés is based on Psalm 121 - Je lève mes yeux vers la montagne - and sung in Latin. Pärt's setting comprises eight sung verses of the psalm that lead  to a final, hymn-like instrumental coda.

The tonalities of the composition progress regularly, ascending stepwise from verse to verse ("cantique des degrés"); but despite this episodic character, the overall mood of the sequences remains consistent. In this way, the two contrasting basic elements of the piece – dynamic motion and balanced repose – are united creating a harmonious whole.

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World première

Location:
Cathedral, Monaco (MC)
Date:
19.11.1999
Orchestra:
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo
Conductor:
Tõnu Kaljuste

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