Arvo Pärt Miserere The Hilliard Ensemble David James countertenor Rogers Covey-Crump tenor John Potter tenor Gordon Jones baritone. Performers. The Hilliard Ensemble Paul Hillier, conductor. Orchester der Beethovenhalle Bonn Dennis Russell Davies, conductor. This latest in ECM’s continuing series of music by Arvo Part strikes me as being the There are two large-scale works here, Miserere and the curiously-named.

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During this segment, the five vocal soloists haltingly repeat some of the syllables from the text sung by the choir, so that, after the descent expressed in thefirst seven stanzas of the Dies lrae interpolation, the listener is finally transported upwards.

The music rises from the depths to higher spheres, slowly developing from a paralyzing despondency through the finer nuances of dance and then to fullness, depth, and surprising dramatic power. Instead we are to read silently, and understand the words as an analogue to the score.

For all that Part’s musical language depends upon the most basic of building materials, there is no such thing as a parrt in his way of thinking. Miserere begins on the arvoo note of human existence. Sarah was ninety-years old. A statement from the clarinet follows every word, not so much commentative as dialogic.

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Later, the warm, deep tones of the bass clarinet begin to provide the first connecting links of sound. Between the fourth and fifth verses of the psalm an implacable drum-roll heralds the coming of the Day of Wrath and its rain of fire. For such an expansive piece—scored as it is for choir, soloists, organ, and ensemble—it is remarkably introspective.

As if to discourage sampling, neither of the long pieces is indexed into shorter tracks—an admirable decision. Composition Artist Credits Sarah was ninety-years old.

The second, of intertwining solo voices, takes its lead from the Gothic world of Notre-Dame polyphony, later sophisticating into two-part wordless canons that approach but never quite cross the threshold of articulacy.

The first, a solemn beating of drums that intensifies misdrere each new miseere, might have been lifted from a Burmese temple or a Tibetan monastery, so primeval is its misereer. Drums cycle through an arithmetic exploration of high and low beats, cradling wordless passages from tenors Rogers Covey-Crump and John Potter. The additional eighth stanza, Rex tremendae, succeeds in gathering up the enormous tensions inherent in the Miserere.


The world of man is represented by singers holding the liber scriptus the Book of Lifewho, totally dependent on God’s grace, fall silent after a mighty crescendo, and remain so during the first seven stanzas of the Dies lrae interpolation. Festina Lente for orchestra and harp is dedicated to Manfred Eicher. Even if the full intricacy of the procedure reveals itself only on paper, there is a sense of mystical dialogue about the result that no one will miss.

Divine wrath bursts in upon the world with great power; the members of a heavenly choir consisting of angels, the twenty-four elders of the Apocalypse, and the four Evangelists’ symbolic animals accompanied by King David take turns singing the prophetic text of Thomas de Celano died without pause and seemingly senza fine.

Shopping options License request Hire request. I found two relatively recent performances mentioned here and herebut nothing upcoming. This process repeats until the organ makes its humble entrance, even imserere Leonard pushes her voice to dizzying heights.

This disc has been with me for nearly half my life.

Arvo Pärt: Miserere (ECM New Series ) – between sound and space: ECM Records and Beyond

Of the Miserere itself, one need know only that it is an essay in the lean style already used so successfully in the St John Passion and the Stabat mater. Skip to main content. The booklet is generous in white space, and shuns page numbers, nice touches of design that complement the music and reflect the general thoughtfulness pervading the whole issue. Notify me of new posts via email. I try so hard to capture something of arv music on these albums and am glad it carries across.

A lone voice begins to sing. Its opening invocation of Psalm 51 fleshes out a corpus of spoken language made melody.

Pärt: Miserere

I would love to see the Miserere performed live, as it is also one of my favorite works, but as far as I know it is not performed often at least not in the States. Another stunning interlude, this time introduced by Christopher Bowers-Broadbent on organ, coaxes the winds into more independent recitations, accentuated by a crystalline tambourine and triangle. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. As recent as ! You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.

Listening reminds me that with each new step I take on the path to independence, I grow closer to who I have always ppart This touches off one of the most breathtaking lifts ever set to music, as all the voices scale a ladder of chaos into a world of silent order.


The winds slog through the valleys, heavy sins in tow, while voices linger in the firmament. Once harmony is introduced in the second vocal line, the pauses become even more gravid and rich in spatial detail.

Miserere Year of composition: Festina lente for string orchestra and harp brings to mind the elegaic tone of Part’s earlier Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Brittenand like its predecessor it is essentially a canon that operates at several speeds simultaneously. Each of its arpeggios is followed by a pause before the voice takes up the next word, making sophisticated use of the Hocket technique employed by medieval masters to separate the instrumental from the vocal lines.

Part’s music, while not exactly attempting to relate the story, nevertheless richly communicates the passing of time, mounting anticipation and, at the end, wondrous fulfilment. Its selection of verses from Genesis tells how Sarah was miraculously brought with child by the will of the Lord, giving birth to Isaac at the unheard-of age of Whether you want to see what we think of today’s latest releases or discover what our critics thought of your favourite recordings from the past, you will find it all in our full-searchable Reviews Database.

As at the opening of the work, it is once more a single unaccompanied voice that constructs the world of Miserere.

Miserere (Pärt)

Thank you for this wonderful and insightful review. The all-time greats Read about the artists who changed the world of classical music. The heartfelt baritone of Gordon Jones describes the ruins with mellifluous sensitivity. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. To give weight to what is said, partt pause follows each word, appropriate lart the sound and sense of the utterance.

Sarah dates from ; the Misererea setting of Psalm 51, by contrast is brand new As a teenager I used to spend hours singing along alternately with the baritone and ravo lines until the booklet yellowed and nearly fell apart from excessive handling I even went so far as to purchase a backup, just so I would have a pristine copy on my shelf.