ARVO PÄRT: Creator Spiritus – Theatre of Voices/ Ars Nova Copenhagen/ Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, organ/ NYYD Quartet/ Paul Hillier – Harmonia mundi multichannel SACD 807553, 75:03 *****:
This is one of the most gratifying Pärt albums I have heard yet; consisting of music lately done in the 2000s with a few earlier works (like the noted Stabat Mater, one of the works that established the composer’s reputation), I was amazed upon hearing it all in one sitting at the immense stylistic dissimilarities in this music. For a composer like Pärt, whom each time I put in my player poses no surprises as to how I think he usually sounds, this was a surprise. Spanning only about a decade with the aforementioned Stabat and two other early eighties pieces both revised in the late 1990s, hearing these pieces side by side puts to rest the criticism that the composer has often had to endure that his music sounds too much alike. Of course pieces like Fratres, arranged for umpteen instrumental combinations and presented over and over on recordings as somehow unique don’t help this situation. But in fact there is a lot more to Pärt than we normally assume, and this music from the 2000s shows a remarkably consistent yet diverse style that finds its impulse not just from minimalist tendencies, but also from melody, rhythm, and even ensemble color.
One of the nice aspects to this recording and a credit to Hillier’s programming skill is the inclusion of works that have different ensemble makeups; strings have always played a big part in Pärt, and the complimentary yet quite different sounds of the two choral groups resonate in the ears long after the work ends. Bowers-Broadbent’s brilliant organ adds another strand of color to pieces that blossom with tints and hues of all sorts, and span the emotional spectrum as well. Absolutely essential! HM’s typically high production values present throughout, and the sound is stunning.
Veni creator; The Deer’s Cry; Psalom; Most Holy Mother of God; Solfeggio; My heart’s in the highlands; Peace upon you, Jerusalem; Ein Walifahrtslied; Morning Star; Stabat Mater
A new vinyl of a jazz legend taking on another musical icon.