With the demise of the Hilliard Ensemble, the field has been open for a small Renaissance vocal group that could bring its pitch precision, and its sense of the behavior of open intervals, to the music of Arvo Pärt, and other holy minimalists. This budget release from the Brilliant label brings together performances, from nearly 10 years apart, by the eight-voice group Ensemble Le Nuove Musiche, under conductor Krijn Koetsveld. It's enough to suggest they might be the Hilliard's successor, or at the very least, one would want to hear them do new, coherent projects in this vein. Not so common are the German-language Maria Antifonen of 1988 and 1991, several of which are quite dissonant by Pärt's standards. Sample the third of these, O spross aus Isias Wurzel, and you'll get an idea of how compelling Pärt can sound in such a reading. The 25-minute Stabat Mater, which closes the program, has the best engineering; recorded at St. Martinuskerk in Hoogland, the mystic sweep of this work comes through in full color, with numerous fascinating treatments of vocal, and instrumental overtones. This is a very satisfying Pärt recording on its own terms, highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim