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Part: I Am The True Vine Import

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 14, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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Contemporary troubador Paul Hillier has been one of the key players behind introducing Arvo Pärt's music to Western audiences, first through recordings with the Hilliard Ensemble and later through his magnificently innovative group Theatre of Voices. I Am the True Vine continues the collaboration by bringing together some truly vintage Pärt compositions from the '90s. Although it exists on disc in a more elaborate version for choir and strings, the 1990 Berlin Mass was originally written for just four solo voices and organ. Pärt later revised the score, returning to that original sonority, which is the version offered here. The consummate preparation of the Theatre of Voices, in which every line is lovingly unfurled, the whole building into a memorable aural sculpture, only heightens a listener's admiration for Pärt's ability to make the seemingly simple profound. We also hear the composer in a more overtly joyful mood than usual in the short first selection, while the title track--a setting of a text from the Gospel of John and one of three world premiere recordings here--is a marvelously organic example of word painting (representing Pärt's choral virtuosity even when it comes to setting English text). --Thomas May


1. Bogoroditse Djevo
2. I Am The True Vine
3. Ode IX, from Kanon pokajanen
4. Woman With the Alabaster Box, The
5. Tribute To Caesar
6. BERLINER MESSE with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent organ/Kyrie
7. BERLINER MESSE/Gloria
8. BERLINER MESSE/Erster Alleluiavers
9. BERLINER MESSE/Zweiter Alleluiavers
10. BERLINER MESSE/Veni Sancte Spiritus
11. BERLINER MESSE/Credo
12. BERLINER MESSE/Sanctus
13. BERLINER MESSE/Angus dei

Product Details

  • Performer: Theatre of Voices, Pro Arte Singers
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Composer: Arvo Part
  • Audio CD (March 14, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00003Z9U9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,854 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on April 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is the CD I would choose to introduce the music of Arvo Part to a new listener. Why? Because it's beautful music, beautifully sung. Because it's sublimely emotional music, sublimely felt. Because it's modern music that sounds strangely familiar; if you've appreciated Gregorian or Orthodox chant, you'll recognize both the indebtedness and the orginality of Part's music. Because most of the texts are in English or in familiar liturgical Latin; an English text does offer something by way of immediacy.

Arvo Part began his musical career writing successfully in the more or less standard musical vocabulary of modernism. But then, out of dissatisfaction, he turned to the music of the Middle Ages - chant and polyphonic tropes of chant - for new inspiration. There's a lot that's direct Medievalism in this performance. For comparison, listen to some of the CDs of Sequentia singing the Codex Calixtinus, or of Marcel Peres's Ensemble Organum, or of Paul Hillier's Hilliard Ensemble singing Perotinus. Part is plainchant driven to its irrational/rational extreme, taking dissonance and wild tessitura beyond the rules of Medieval composition. While we can instantly relish 11th C organa, I seriously doubt that the 11th C chanters would have comprehended Arvo Part.

Paul Hillier's Theater of Voices is the perfect ensemble to sing this music, all of them having a background in Early Music, all grasping the aesthetics and vocal production techniques to make such music beautiful. The sound recording on this CD is among the best I've ever heard of a choral performance.

Religion has inspired world's greatest music. A huge share of the music I listen to is "religious" even though I am not a religious person.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brooke on May 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Paul Hillier, best known for his recordings of early music, brings that sense of urgency and simple piety to the delicate religious music of Arvo Part. This is music which combines gentleness with real force, and the intelligent singing, and capacity to make moments of silence tell as much as grand effects, is entirely admirable. The opening "Hail Mary" reminds us of Baltic folk-choruses and the more elaborate works here--cantatas to English words from the New Testament--like title work, "Tributeto Caesar" and "The Woman with the Alabaster Box"--never entirely leave that style behind for their more austere sound world. The "Berlin Mass" with organ is a powerful devotional work which combines sheer beauty of sound with liturgical practicalities. In all of this work, most of it recent, Part reveals himself as a great master of acapella choral writing
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chin-Tser Huang on March 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When I first listened to this CD from a Tower Record sample shelf, I was amazed at the high quality of this recording. The music is sacred and the voices of both Pro Arte Singers and Theatre of Voices are clean and clear, you feel that you are listening to the music from the Heaven. Excellent performance.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mark Swinton on July 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
...even so, I must begin my review with a bit of a grumble. One pays full price for this disc (in fact, everywhere I've seen it except on Amazon websites, one pays slightly over) and yet the running time is only 57 minutes.
Grumble aside, this is one of the finest Arvo Part recordings ever to appear, worthy of ECM's release some years back of "Te Deum." That disc closed with the eight-movement "Berliner Messe," and so does this disc, but the original organ accompaniment conceived by the composer has been revised and re-instated, bringing an added 'liturgical' sound to the work. This is sung one-to-a-part by the Theatre of Voices (including Paul Hillier as the bass singer) and is sensitively accompanied by Christopher Bowers-Broadbent. The clarity of sound throughout is unfailingly sharp, a credit to the singers more than anything else, and the music is beautifully enhanced by the acoustics of Ely Cathedral where these last tracks were recorded. Even if you already have the "Berliner Messe" (as recorded by Tonu Kaljuste on the ECM CD), it is worth getting this and listening to the organ version. The notes are the same, but the sound world is very different - and very compelling.
The first half of the programme features the unaccompanied Pro Arte Singers, conducted by Hillier, who explore the eponymous "I am the True Vine" (written for a recent celebratory service in Norwich Cathedral) along with some other short works, all dating from within the past ten years. This is some impressive music, a generous slice of Part's acclaimed tintinnabuli style in various forms (despite the disc's running time).
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jay Gambol on August 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This disc is my first introduction to Arvo Part, and I was awestruck. This mystical work sounds like chant but informed by a millenium of musical advancement. I won't venture an opinion for people who aren't Christian (though I daresay they'd appreciate the music), but personally the communion of saints can sing this in Heaven. The title track alone brought me to tears. The singers are excellent and courageous and the encoding quality of the disc seems flawless. Incidentally, it's amazing Part could make such a startling and moving modern Mass setting and still make it singable for everyday liturgical use.
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