ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
ARVO PÄRT - Tintinnabuli

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ARVO PÄRT - Tintinnabuli - The Tallis Scholars - Peter Phillips (Director) - 755138104921 - Released: March 2015 - Gimell CDGIM049

When I first heard that the Tallis Scholars were releasing a recording of choral pieces by Arvo Pärt in honor of his 80th birthday, my gut reaction was one of disbelief. What? The Tallis Scholars, stalwart representatives of how it is to sing Renaissance music perfectly, performing music by a 20th century Estonian composer? But then what I knew all along came to me. Renaissance music and Arvo Pärt's music (the choral works especially) are basically one and the same. Arvo Pärt seems to have reverse-engineered the construct of Renaissance music and, through the use of minimalism, pared it down to its simplest and purist harmonic state. What Renaissance composers like Tallis, Byrd and Josquin were discovering and pioneering, still strikes everyone today as music that is incredibly beautiful and harmonically unrivaled.

And that is why the disbelief evaporates once you realize that the Tallis Scholars and the music of Arvo Pärt go hand in hand. I've always considered the Tallis Scholars to be one of the most homogeneous, uniform and pitch-perfect ensembles around today. Therefore Pärt's concise and tight harmonic language strongly benefits from this type of cohesive and unified delivery. And because of this ensemble's pitch-perfect razor blade sharp sound, each and every semitone dissonance along the way cuts like a knife, as it should. Their performance here of the Magnificat in particular is a great example of just that. Pure harmonic beauty that rings from within.

Each and every recording (and there are many) by the Tallis Scholars have always ranked at the top of the lists, and have always been highly praised by the critics and public alike. Once you get past any doubts about this one and understand how well their sound and this composer's music jive, its bound to become another top favorite. Highly recommended!

Jean-Yves Duperron - April 2015