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Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem

Arvo Part , Robert MacDonald , Mark Anderson , Antony Pitts , Tonus Peregrinus Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $10.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 4 Songs, 2003 $7.99  
Audio CD, 2003 $10.17  

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. St. John Passion: Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem 3:56Album Only
listen  2. Et adduxerunt eum ad Annam primum ? (Jesus is interrogated by the high priest and denied by Peter): Et adduxerunt eum ad Annam primum11:27Album Only
listen  3. Adducunt ergo Jesum a Caipha in praetorium ? (Jesus is judged by Pilate and reviled by the people): Adducunt ergo Jesum a Caipha in praetorium12:30Album Only
listen  4. Tunc ergo tradidit eis illum ut crucifigeretur ? (Jesus is crucified at Golgotha): Tunc ergo tradidit eis illum ut crucifigeretur 4:26Album Only

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Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem + I Am The True Vine: Arvo Part + Part: Adam's Lament
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Product Details

  • Performer: Arvo Part, Robert MacDonald, Mark Anderson, Antony Pitts, Tonus Peregrinus
  • Audio CD (April 29, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00008IHVX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,389 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Composed in 1982 and later recorded by the Hilliard Ensemble on ECM, Arvo Pärt’s Passio (Passion According to St. John) made its composer famous, and rightly so. It is a work of unique beauty. Its meditative, intensely spiritual quality is static; the listener will find no outbursts or overtly dramatic moments to latch on to as one does in Bach's Passions. Here the story is told with a lack of overt emotionalism which quickly becomes hypnotic. Jesus is a bass, he is accompanied by an organ, all his words are intoned slowly, on lengthy note values. The role of the Evangelist is taken by four voices--a soprano, alto, tenor, and bass--and they are accompanied, on short note values and in different groupings (and frequently dissonantly), by one each of violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon. Pilate is a tenor. This new performance cuts 10 minutes off the 71-minute timing on the ECM recording; still, it can't be accused of treating the music lightly or with anything other than the respect and dignity it deserves. The final eight-word prayer, which ends in a beautiful, life-affirming D-major chord is taken, in fact, too slowly--the novice listener may presume one of the too-long pauses is the work's end. But aside from this miscalculation, this new performance is glorious, and at less than half the price of the ECM (or one on Elektra), should be in the collection of anyone interested in devotional music, beautiful music, and/or the phenomenon that is Arvo Pärt. Very highly recommended. --Robert Levine

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
The Estonian composer Arvo Part has composed in several styles during his 40-year career, but the most popular is his "tintinnabuli" style of the 1970s and 1980s, when he chose to turn away from the avant-garde towards the simpler, bell-like sonorities of medieval Western music and plainsong. Because of the frugal nature of the music, as well as the religious titles of many of his works of this time, this style has been called by some "holy minimalism". One of his most ambitious works of this era is his PASSIO or, to use its full title, "Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem".

The PASSIO is a straightforward setting of the Latin (Vulgate) text of St John's Gospel. However, those expecting to hear a St John's Passion classical like Bach's or fresh and modern like Sofia Gubaidulina's will be surprised. Part has looked far into the past, further back than Bach, and produced a work reminiscent of Gregorian chant. This 60-minute work is sung uninterrupted (though Naxos has created a disc with four tracks), and the first thing that will strike the listener is its smooth and seemingly unchanging veneer. The six vocalists--Jesus, Pilate, and a quartet representing the Evangelist, sing with total sincerity but no urgency in order to let the listener form his own private relationship to his crucified Saviour out of the presented words. Each of the singers is accompanied by certain instruments, Jesus and Pilate by organ, while the Evangelist quartet by violin, cello, oboe, and bassoon.

I have been hard on Part's oeuvre during this period. Popular works like "Tabula Rasa" and "Cantus" are supposed to be "spiritual", but they communicate no clear religious orthodoxy and the listener hears whatever he wants to in it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear as a bell May 24, 2005
By dm
Format:Audio CD
The first thing to strike me of this recording is that the sound is absolutely perfect, as clear as a bell. The end of each recitation trails and maintains a perfect pitch and flawless tone. Kudos to both the singers and the engineers.

Robert MacDonald is particularly impressive. All soloists are wonderful.

I've also heard the ECM version several times, unfortunately it developed a skip so I decided to try the Naxos version. Both versions are wonderful, thought the sound is clearer on the Naxos version. The ECM version has more reverberation; although this is not a necessarily bad thing. It adds a certain ambience and atmosphere.

Of course the biggest difference is price. The ECM Part CDs are extremely expensive, and, well, we all know about Naxos. So if it's only one version to purchase, it's an easy choice. If you like this particular Passio of Part's, though, you may eventually seek out a used or bargain copy of the ECM version also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotically Heavenly. November 19, 2010
Format:Audio CD
This is a hauntingly beautiful account of St John's Passion, quite otherworldly. Compared to other composers, Part refuses to cheapen the piece with any melodramatic fireworks, instead simply letting the text and music convey the magnitude of the Passion, so more closely aligned to earlier mediaeval polyphony. (Indeed Tonus Peregrinus recorded St Luke's Passion in this manner, also on Naxos).
Thus unadorned, this is music with Part's trademark ebb and flow of melody, with appropriate pauses, to let the music breathe.
As a result, the overall piece is the more powerful, and deeply moving, for this restraint. Exquisitely sung,the transcendent beauty of the waves of music have both a deep sadness, yet a healing tranquillity at their heart. This is music which reaches out beyond the boundaries of specific religion, offering redemption to all faithful listeners. An arresting and haunting composition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic November 3, 2009
By Aquinas
Format:Audio CD
It is extrordinary how the passion according to St John can be the subject of such different music. Coming to Part from say Bach's take on this, one is astounded by the difference in musical language and yet they both communicate in their own way (if that is not stating the obvious re Bach) to a deeper understanding of the narrative. Part's account is, as you would expect, minimalist, but one is strangley moved by it despite the apparent monotony and subtle variations.
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