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Track(s) taken from CDA67375

Littlemore Tractus

author of text
Wisdom and Innocence, a sermon preached on 19 February 1843 in Littlemore, Oxfordshire

Polyphony, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ), 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: 6 minutes 28 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)
With its typically homogeneous, flowing organ accompaniment and intermittent homophonic choral lines, this setting has the feel of a stretched out Anglican hymn; not inappropriately so, as it sets words from a sermon preached on 19 February 1843 by one of the nineteenth century’s most influential Anglican poet-priests, John Henry Newman. Pärt is not familiar with Newman’s greatest musical memorial, Elgar’s setting of The Dream of Gerontius; but he is acquainted with the Vicar of the Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Nicholas, Littlemore (near Oxford), where Newman lived and worked from 1840 to 1846. And it was Reverend Bernhard Schünemann who asked him to write this Littlemore Tractus, to commemorate the anniversary of Newman’s birth on 21 February 2001.

from notes by Meurig Bowen © 2003

Avec son accompagnement d’orgue typiquement homogène et fluide et ses lignes chorales homophoniques intermittentes, cette page donne l’impression d’être une extension d’un hymne anglican. Ce rapprochement n’est pas totalement déplacé puisque cette œuvre met en musique les mots d’un sermon prêché le 19 février 1843 par l’un des prêtres-poètes anglicans les plus influents du 19e siècle, John Henry Newman. Si Pärt n’est pas familier du plus grand hommage musical à Newman, The Dream of Gerontius mis en musique par Elgar, il connaît le vicaire de l’église Sainte Marie la Vierge et de Saint Nicholas, à Littlemore (près d’Oxford) où Newman a vécu et travaillé entre 1840 et 1846. C’est le Révérend Bernhard Schünemann qui lui demanda d’écrire ce Littlemore Tractus pour commémorer l’anniversaire de la naissance de Newman, le 21 février 2001.

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

Mit seiner typisch homogenen, fließenden Orgelbegleitung und den periodisch einsetzenden, homophonen Chorpassagen erinnert dieses Werk an ein ausgedehntes anglikanisches Kirchenlied. Das ist so unpassend nicht, beruht diese Komposition doch auf einer Predigt, die am 19. Februar 1843 von einem der einflussreichsten anglikanischen Dichter-Priester des 19. Jahrhunderts gehaltenen wurde, John Henry Newman. Pärt ist mit dem größten musikalischen Denkmal für Newman, Elgars Vertonung des Dream of Gerontius, nicht vertraut. Aber er kennt den Pfarrer der Kirche St Mary the Virgin and St Nicholas in Littlemore (in der Nähe von Oxford), wo Newman zwischen 1840 und 1846 lebte und arbeitete. Jener hochwürdige Bernhard Schünemann bat Pärt, den hier vorliegenden Littlemore Tractus zu komponieren, um Newmans Jahrestag seiner Geburt am 21. Februar 2001 zu gedenken.

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

Other albums featuring this work

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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