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Track(s) taken from CDA67375

I am the true vine

author of text
John 15: 1-14

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
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

Other recordings available for download

The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips (conductor)


'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)
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

Ecrite pour le 900e anniversaire de la fondation de la Cathédrale de Norwich en 1996, cette composition sur le Chapitre 15 de l’Evangile selon saint Jean révèle Pärt au mieux de son auto-discipline. Inspiré par la force et la simplicité de la métaphore, Pärt élabore un motif de notes qui est strictement répété six fois durant toute la durée de l’œuvre. Les rythmes changent chaque fois pour s’adapter au texte, et les tenues à la basse et au soprano soulignent la quatrième répétition—mais les hauteurs de notes demeurent les mêmes, créant une continuité sinueuse que Pärt compare aux motifs de feuille et de branche sur les tapis orientaux. Dans ce cadre sonore, la métaphore de la vigne est accentuée en plus par l’addition et la soustraction systématique d’une voix. Une partie vocale chante une note, une autre la rejoint pour la seconde, une autre pour la troisième. La succession est rigoureuse—1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 3, etc.—créant une oscillation fluide entre les registres graves et aigus. Comme un certain nombre de pièces de Pärt gouvernées par de telles techniques d’écriture, la réalité expressive de la musique vivante semble sans comparaison par rapport à l’austérité apparente des notes sur la partition. Comme toujours, Pärt sait amener sa conclusion à merveille.

extrait des notes rédigées par Meurig Bowen © 2003
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Diese auf einem Text aus dem 15. Kapitel des Johannes-Evangeliums beruhende Komposition wurde 1996 zum 900. Gründungsjahr der Norwich Cathedral komponiert und zeigt Pärt in seiner kontrolliertesten Verfassung. Inspiriert von der Stärke und Einfachheit des gewählten Metapher entschied sich Pärt für ein Notenmotiv, dass im Verlauf des Werkes sechsmal rigoros wiederholt wird. Auch wenn sich die Rhythmen jedes Mal ändern, um dem Text gerecht zu werden, und die vierte Wiederholung zusätzliche ausgehaltene Noten im Bass und Sopran vorweist, bleiben die Tönhöhen erhalten, wodurch eine sich schlängelnde Kontinuität entsteht, die Pärt mit den Blatt- und Rankmustern orientalischer Teppiche vergleicht. Innerhalb des Tonhöhengerüsts wird das Bildnis der Rankpflanze durch systematisches Hinzufügen und Abziehen von Stimmen weiter bestärkt. Eine Stimmgruppe singt eine Note, eine andere stellt sich ihr mit der zweiten Note zur Seite, ein andere mit der dritten. Das Muster wird streng eingehalten—1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 3, usw.—und schafft damit ein geschmeidiges Pendeln zwischen tiefen und hohen Registern. Wie in vielen Werken Pärts, die durch solche kompositorische Eingriffe beherrscht werden, hat die Klangrealität in einer Aufführung mit dem, was auf dem Papier vermeintlich kargen Anschein erweckt, nicht viel gemein. In üblicher Fasson weiß Pärt einen perfekten Abschluss herbeizuführen.

aus dem Begleittext von Meurig Bowen © 2003
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

Other albums featuring this work

Pärt: Tintinnabuli
Studio Master: CDGIM049Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
CDA30013Hyperion 30th Anniversary series
Pärt: Triodion & other choral works
This album is not yet available for downloadSACDA67375Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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