Pärt: Triodion (CD Review - The Sunday Times, 2003)

Polyphony’s earlier album devoted to the a cappella choral music of the Estonian cult composer featured pieces written between 1988 and 1991. This new release comprises works, some recorded here for the first time, of more recent provenance (1996-2002) Of the eight pieces, two are settings of the traditional Latin liturgy, Nunc Dimittis (2001) and Salve Regina (2002) but we also find the “Holy minimalist” tackling Italian, Russian and English texts. Both Triodion and the Robert Burns setting, My hearts in the Highlands, have links with the music of Benjamin Britten, whom Pärt has long revered. His Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten of 1977, performed the year after the English composer’s death, is a modern classic. Layton’s superb choir respond to the different challenges of the various choral traditions from which these pieces derive.

Hugh Canning

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