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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67375
Recording details: January 2003
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2003
Total duration: 10 minutes 15 seconds

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

'Ought to sell by the bucket-load … 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)

'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 … 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)

'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)

'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)

'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)

'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)

I am the true vine
composer
1996
author of text
John 15: 1-14

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Written for the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Norwich Cathedral in 1996, this setting from Chapter 15 of St John’s Gospel shows Pärt at his most controlled. Inspired by the strength and simplicity of the metaphor, Pärt sets up a pattern of notes that is strictly repeated six times throughout the span of the work. Rhythms alter each time, to suit the text, and bass and soprano pedal notes enhance the fourth repetition—but the pitches remain the same, creating a sinuous continuity that Pärt likens to the leaf and branch patterns on oriental carpets. Within this framework of pitches, the vine metaphor is further reinforced by the systematic adding and subtracting of voices. One voice part sings one note, another joins them for the second, another for the third. The pattern is rigorous—1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 3, etc—creating a smooth switchback from lower to upper registers. Like a number of Pärt’s pieces which are governed by such compositional conceits, the expressive reality in performance is quite unlike the seemingly bleak prospect on paper. And, as ever, Pärt knows how to fashion the conclusion perfectly.

from notes by Meurig Bowen © 2003

Other albums featuring this work
'Pärt: Triodion & other choral works' (CDA30013)
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30013  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Pärt: Triodion & other choral works' (SACDA67375)
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
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