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Pärt: Triodion / Stephen Layton, Polyphony

Album Summary

>Pärt, Arvo : Dopo la vittoria, little cantata for chorus
>Pärt, Arvo : Nunc dimittis, for chorus
>Pärt, Arvo : ... which was the son of..., for chorus
>Pärt, Arvo : I am the True Vine
>Pärt, Arvo : Littlemore Tractus, for chorus & organ
>Pärt, Arvo : Triodion, for chorus
>Pärt, Arvo : My Heart's in the Highland, for countertenor (or alto) & organ
>Pärt, Arvo : Salve Regina, for chorus & organ (or orchestra)
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Polyphony find a warmth and colour in Part that even his admirers may be surprised by." - Gramophone

'a triumph ... warm melodies and bursts of colourful chords ... sublime, ethereal beauty ... Polyphony's is a gorgeous performance' (Gramophone)

'The heartfelt conviction of these pieces registers profoundly with Stephen Layton, who draws sublime singing from Polyphony ... The choir's pursuit of perfection ideally complements the sheer beauty of the music' (Classic FM Magazine)

'More than any other composer alive today, Arvo Pärt has given us back the idea of eloquent, beautiful simplicity ... Stephen Layton and Polyphony seem to have found an ideal balance of intensity and dignified elegance, of sensuousness and purity. The recordings, too, could hardly be better ... This disc deserves the widest possible success' (BBC Music Magazine)

'ought to sell by the bucket-load' (Editor, BBC Music Magazine)

'The singing on this disc is little short of stunning: Polyphony's sense of ensemble is second to none, and conductor Stephen Layton paces these works with an unerring sense of Pärt's instinctive feeling for space and texture. The recording, in London's Temple Church, adds a luminuous aura of its own ... a deeply satisfying listening experience' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Layton's superb choir responds eagerly to the different challenges of the various choral traditions from which these pieces derive' (The Sunday Times - 'The Month' CD-Rom)

'Polyphony give meticulous performances ... Perhaps the most powerful piece is the haunting Burns setting for countertenor, My Heart's in the Highlands, beautifully performed by David James and Christopher Bowers-Broadbent' (The Sunday Times, Culture)

'There's a line in this disc's title track, from an Orthodox ode addressed to Saint Nicholas: "therewithal hast thou acquired: by humility - greatness, by poverty - riches". This might have been written about Arvo Pärt's compositional technique, here liberated from the minimalist strictures of earlier decades, treading a fine line between agony and ecstasy in a way unparalleled since Bach ... Arvo Pärt's new disc of choral music conveys a quiet and cumulative power, given performances of luminous purity by Polyphony and Stephen Layton.' (BBCi)

'Only the most pure and precise of choral groups can raise Arvo Pärt's work to its optimum level of expression. Polyphony and its conductor Stephen Layton make ideal interpreters' (Financial Times)

'this Polyphony recital has been carefully thought-out, and deserves the accolades, notably for the quiet singing and the engulfing, resonant sound. Notes are excellent, and the experience would probably, for 78 minutes, make a believer of an asteroid' (Fanfare, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Meurig Bowen's notes observe that choral pieces composed in the 1990s suggested Pärt was moving into 'more complex, exotic harmonic territory'. Some of his music began to give a glimpse of what was described as 'an attractively post- Minimalist aspect' of the composer's recent work.

All rather premature, perhaps, since, as Bowen acknowledges, Pärt subsequently returned to a more strictly diatonic, triadic approach. Even so, the staccato, carol-like episodes bracketing Dopo La Vittoria, commissioned in 1991 and delivered in 1997, come as a shock, but the bulk of the piece is more recognisably by Pärt, and the Nunc dimittis, with its lovely, lambent solo part for soprano Elin Thomas, evoking Allegri's Miserere, assuages all doubts.

The idea of Pärt setting Burns might surprise, but My heart's in the Highlands, with its serene, Pachelbel-like organ line and pellucid vocal by countertenor David James, is a triumph. In the hymn-like Littlemore Tractus and Salve Regina, warm melodies and bursts of colourful chords mellow Pärt's sound without detracting from its sublime, ethereal beauty. Polyphony's performance is gorgeous.



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Works Details

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Dopo la vittoria, little cantata for chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1996

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Nunc dimittis, for chorus
  • Performer: Elin Thomas (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2001

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : ... which was the son of..., for chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2000

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : I am the True Vine
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1996

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Littlemore Tractus, for chorus & organ
  • Performer: Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2001

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Triodion, for chorus
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1998

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : My Heart's in the Highland, for countertenor (or alto) & organ
  • Performers: Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ); David James (Countertenor)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2000

>Arvo Pärt (1935 - ) : Salve Regina, for chorus & organ (or orchestra)
  • Performer: Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (Organ)
  • Conductor: Stephen Layton
  • Ensemble: Polyphony
  • Notes: Temple Church, London, England (01/02/2003/01/05/2003)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2002