Hyperion Records

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

'Pärt: Choral Music' (CDA68056)
Pärt: Choral Music
Pre-order CD by post £10.50 CDA68056  29 September 2014 Release  
Track 3 on CDA68056 [5'43] 29 September 2014 Release

The woman with the alabaster box
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

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA68056 track 3
Recording date
3 August 2013
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Pärt: Choral Music (CDA68056)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: 29 September 2014
    29 September 2014 Release
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