Polyphony / Stephen Layton

Arvo Pärt: Triodion

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Listeners looking for examples of Arvo Pärt's tonal, tintinnabular style will find that most of the works on this 2003 CD meet their needs. Composed between 1996 and 2002, these eight pieces are triadically based, shaded with modal inflections, and free of the tight dissonances and chromatic touches that adorned much of Pärt's music in the 1980s. Dopo la vittoria (1996), the Littlemore Tractus (2001), and Salve Regina (2002) all premiered here, are almost exclusively diatonic, and Pärt's bell-like voicings are quite effective in the resonant acoustics of Temple Church, London. Polyphony's pure tones and clear textures ring out with a glorious aural halo, and these recordings are hardly to be improved upon. Even though My heart's in the Highlands (2000) and the Nunc dimittis (2001) have also been recorded in fine performances on Black Box, the renditions by Polyphony predate them and are still the best. I am the true vine (1996), Triodion (1998), and ...which was the Son of... (2000) have been recorded before and released in surveys of varied consistency. However, their inclusion here with pieces of the same decade and style makes their place in his late oeuvre perfectly clear. Hyperion captures the hushed ambience of Polyphony's reverent performances.

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