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OCTOBER 21

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There’s nothing light and elegant in Estonian composer Arvo Part’s work. Be prepared to strip away the superfluous notes, the elaborate ornamentation, the frilly “Oh my, isn’t that pretty!” stuff that defines classical music for most people. Litany, like most of Part’s works, uses a sacred text. An intensely spiritual man, a devout Orthodox Christian, and a composer well grounded in the study of medieval chant and modalities, he relies on his music to let loose the complex harmonies and reverberations of the human heart. He overwhelmingly succeeds with a manner so restrained and economical that each note is allowed to ache under the weight of its own profound beauty. In the past few years, the works of Part and fellow composer Gorecki have been viewed as a part of the reaction against the rigidity of minimalist composers like Glass and Reich. Retaining all the tonal simplicity but jettisoning the complicated repetitions, Part heralds a new compositional movement just in time for the 21st century. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Tonu Kaljuste (all of whom appear on the stellar 1996 ECM recording), will perform Litany in the appropriately spare acoustic setting of the National Cathedral. At 8 p.m. at the Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin & Massachusetts Aves. NW. $30. (202) 537-6200. (Amy Domingues)