Arvo Pärt: If you listen to only one of his works...

...make it Kanon Pokajanen.

Perhaps I’m inclined to favor it since the libretto is written in a borderline-artlang.

Although he’s a brilliant composer, Pärt can frankly wallow in a Kierkegaardian malaise that just gets tiring. (Or, if you like, it’s an acquired taste.) But Kanon Pokajanen retains its beauty and power from start to finish. There’s a purity to choral music; there is no chance to hide compositional flaws in fashion or timbre. Any beauty is true human beauty, any flaw is a real flaw, the voices are always distinguishable because they are actual voices and not machines.

Nothing against machines — almost all of the music I love is machine music — but if I had my life to live over again, I know what I would do: compose music, and mostly for voices.