Andrew Stewart
Sinfini Music
February 2015

Arvo Pärt’s music expands freely into the space between sound and silence, a place of transition that suggests something other, certainly something bigger, than our everyday fears. It does so with great simplicity and gentleness, inviting listeners to contemplate the cosmic unity in which all things may be connected.

As Peter Phillips points out in the illuminating notes to Tintinnabuli, the composer forged his instantly recognisable musical language with the rich sonorities of bells in mind. The purity and warmth produced by the Tallis Scholars, delivered by two singers per voice part, draws out the beauty of Pärt’s a cappella writing, less austere here than in many recordings using larger forces but more redolent than just about anything I’ve heard of the infinite silence out of which his sounds arise.

Tintinnabuli, released to mark Pärt’s 80th birthday this September, offers something desperately desired in a world ringing to the sounds of hatred. There’s stillness at the heart of these performances, what Phillips describes as ‘the presumption of silence’. It’s there from the beginning, framed like a sacred relic by the Seven Magnificat Antiphons, intensified in the Magnificat and crafted with care sufficient to suspend time and open hearts in The Woman with the Alabaster Box and Tribute to Caesar. An essential recording, not to be missed.