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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA68056
Recording details: August 2013
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: October 2014
Total duration: 5 minutes 43 seconds

The woman with the alabaster box
First line:
Now when Jesus was in Bethany
1997; SATB divisi unaccompanied; composed for the 350th anniversary celebrations of Karlstad Diocese, Sweden, where it was first performed by the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble
author of text
Matthew 26: 6-13

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October 2014 Release

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In his monolithic setting of the Passio (St John Passion), Pärt had already established in 1982 a syllabically deadpan, recitative-like way of story-telling. Though not so strictly following Pärt’s tintinnabulist route-map of combined stepwise and triadic movement, The woman with the alabaster box, a piece of story-telling from St Matthew’s gospel, has a similar crystalline simplicity. Adjacent thirds interweave against long-held notes, creating subtle clashes and resolutions. The choral texture unites with pianissimo emphasis for Christ’s final words ‘Verily I say unto you …’. The vocal compass expands, both upwards and downwards, for effect. The controlled serenity and subtlety of expression are, again, mesmerizing. This 1997 setting was composed for the 350th anniversary of the Karlstad Diocese in Sweden, and was first performed by the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble in Karlstad Cathedral.

from notes by Meurig Bowen © 2014

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