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Pärt: Te Deum
Since the 2011/2012 season, Risto Joost has been the principal conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Choir who accompany him on this new recording from Globe.
He has swiftly identified himself as one of the world’s leading exponents of Arvo Pärt’s music and this disc is sure to be one of his best recordings.
The recording presents Arvo Pärt’s probably most well known vocal and instrumental works composed from 1992-2000, all of which have found their place in the repertoire of the leading vocal ensembles and orchestras in the world. The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, under the passionate leadership of Gordon Nikolić is a great example of a modern chamber orchestra, very capable of performing any style of music.
“This is an absolutely outstanding release, bringing together a number of particularly intriguing works by Pärt...Nikolić's sound is utterly captivating...Fratres acts as a kind of palate-cleanser before the staggering performance of the Te Deum that is the centrepiece of the disc. It is one of Pärt's most remarkable achievements and the Dutch performers...have risen to the occasion.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2013
“This performance [of the Te Deum] gets everything right...this disc is unreservedly recommended for the way in which it navigates the idiosyncrasies and intricacies of the composer's music.” International Record Review, May 2013
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“This programme represents a retreat from the remote cloister where for so long Arvo Pärt invited us to join him, a definite shift from the aerated tintinabuli. The purity remains, so do the spare textures and, to a limited extent, earlier stylistic traits. Pärt's voice is always recognisable.
And yet who, years ago, could have anticipated the tempered tumult that erupts in the third movement of Como cierva sedienta, a halfhour choral drama commissioned by the Festival de Música de Canarias? This recording subscribes to ECM's well-tried aesthetic, in which clarity, fine-tipped detail and carefully gauged perspectives are familiar priorities.
The texts come from Psalms 42 and 43, opening with 'As the hart panteth…' (Psalm 42).
Even in the first few seconds, after chorus and bell have registered, vivid instrumental colour signals a fresh departure. It's almost as if Pärt is relishing textures previously denied him, like a penitent released from fasting. Take the second movement, 'Why art thou cast down, my soul?', which opens among lower strings then switches to tactile pizzicati and woodwinds that are almost Tchaikovskian in their post-Classical delicacy. The long closing section is pensive but conclusive: a dramatic opening, drum taps that recall Shostakovich 11, expressively varied instrumental commentary, quiet string chords later on and a closing episode filled with equivocal tranquillity.
The two shorter works are also significant.
Wallfahrtslied (1984, 'Song of Pilgrimage'), a memorial to a friend, is presented in the revised version for strings and men's choir.
Again Pärt engages a lyrical muse, particularly for the emotionally weighted prelude and postlude whereas the accompaniment to the main text (Psalm 121, 'I lift up mine eyes unto the hills…'), a combination of pizzicato and shudderingbowed phrases, suggests a lament tinged with anger.
The seven-minute string piece Orient and Occident has 'a monophonic line which runs resolutely through [it]', to quote Pärt's wife.
Snake-like oriental gestures, coiled with prominent portamenti (the sort used by Indian orchestras) sound like an Eastern variant of Pärt's earlier string works. The choral pieces, though, are the prime reasons for investing in this exceptional and musically important release.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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