Part: De Profundis; Missa Sillabica; Seven Magnificat Antiphons; Magnificat; Solfeggio; ‘And one of the Pharisees’; Cantate Domino; Summa; The Beatitudes

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COMPOSERS: Part
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: De Profundis; Missa Sillabica; Seven Magnificat Antiphons; Magnificat; Solfeggio; ‘And one of the Pharisees’; Cantate Domino; Summa; The Beatitudes
PERFORMER: Theatre of Voices/Paul HillierChristopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ), Dan Kennedy (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907182

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Deeply restful and often moving to those who are mindful of its beauties, Arvo Pärt’s gentle music may still arouse anger among lovers of complexity, but has won support from one important quarter: the singers themselves. Famously championed by the Hilliard Ensemble, his music is here performed by the Theatre of Voices, a slightly larger group that can offer more resonant effects of varied timbre and spatial dimension, for example in the Seven Magnificat Antiphons. These are recent pieces in a collection that spans the entire range of the composer’s work in his tintinnabuli style, of bell-like sounds derived from simple triads, created in the Seventies. Important to an understanding of the roots of this method is the Missa Sillabica, written in 1977 in a form that not only allocates one syllable per note, but also judges the length of that note according to the syllable’s power. As with an even earlier study included here, Solfeggio, the result is impressively chaste and direct. Summa will be familiar to many; the surprise here is another liturgical setting, the Magnificat of 1989, which also sounds like a Pärt success story, tender and introspective, without denomination and surely as impressive when heard in the concert hall as in the cathedral sanctuary. Nicholas Williams