Arvo Pärt's "Kanon Pokajanen" of 1997 has become one of his most popular works, perhaps because, although it fits broadly into the bell-like "tintinnabular" style of the main part of his career, it is a bit less abstract than many of his other works. The "kanon" of the title is not a musical canon, but a collection of sacred texts, here a group of repentance prayers of the Orthodox church, in the old Church Slavonic language. The music is a cappella and connected to the text, and as such, it naturally contains contrasts that set parts of the text off in basic ways even as static sonorities are maintained for long stretches. Pärt himself indicated that in the "Kanon," he "wanted the word to be able to find its own sound, to draw its own melodic line," to which one might add in order to "build its own larger shapes" as well. The work is thus suited well to the sound of the Cappella Amsterdam under Daniel Reuss, not one of the usual choirs that interpret Pärt with a maximum of purity, but add expression and just a bit of vocal heft. The results are impressive and carry a sense of the ecstasy inspired by the very best Pärt performances. Sample anywhere, but check in first with one of the responsorial Odes (perhaps "Ode VI"), and note the care that has been taken with the unfamiliar text and language by the performers. Another major attraction is the sound of Amsterdam's Waalse Kerk, ideal for this music. A highly recommended entry in the Pärt catalog.