Pärt: Annum per annum; Trivium; Pari intervallo; Gregorian chant
Steeped like all his work since the Eighties in plainsong and the techniques of Dufay, Ockeghem and other medieval composers, Arvo Pärt’s organ music responds to the carefully chosen sequence of Gregorian chant on this collection, and vice versa. Simple yet sublime patterns of rhythm and interval speak to one another across the many centuries, as the composer’s own voice reflects without pastiche the spirit of the chant as temporal medium for the eternal word. The dual identity of ancient and modern is perceived at several levels. In the final item, the multi-movement organ piece Annum per annum becomes a symbol for the Ordinary of the Mass, its sections interleaved with Gregorian settings of the Sursum corda and Preface. This pattern is reflected in the overall structure of the programme, shaped by a sequence of Mass Propers between which other organ pieces serve as moments of spiritual and stylistic reflection. Recorded in the clear acoustic of Tallinn’s St Mary’s Cathedral, Vox Clamantis’s singing is sustained and unanimous in the melismatic chant of the Offertory, and of faultless intonation in a recitation from Isaiah, the mixed intervals of its organum perfectly marrying the worlds of plainsong and Pärt.