Arvo Pärt: Tractus

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tõnu Kaljuste

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Tractus emphasizes Arvo Pärt compositions that blend the timbres of choir and string orchestra. New versions predominate, with focused performances from the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under Tõnu Kaljuste’s direction that invite alert and concentrated listening. From the opening composition Littlemore Tractus, which takes as its starting point consoling reflections from a sermon by John Henry Newman, the idea of change, transfiguration and renewal resonates, setting a tone for a recording whose character is one of summing up, looking inward, and reconciling with the past. Compositions included are Littlemore Tractus, Greater Antiphons, Cantique des degrés, Sequentia, L’abbé Agathon, These Words… and Veni creator. An evocative reworking of Vater unser for choir, strings and piano concludes this album. Recorded in Tallinn last year and produced by Manfred Eicher, Tractus extends the line of definitive Arvo Pärt albums begun on ECM New Series with the epochal Tabula rasa in 1984.
Tractus legt den Schwerpunkt auf Arvo Pärt-Kompositionen, in denen die Klangfarben von Chor und Streichorchester verschmelzen. Es überwiegen neue Fassungen seiner Stücke mit fokussierten Aufführungen des Tallinner Kammerorchesters und des Estnischen Philharmonischen Kammerchors unter der Leitung von Tõnu Kaljuste, die zum aufmerksamen und konzentrierten Zuhören einladen. Schon in der Eröffnungskomposition Littlemore Tractus, die von Reflexionen aus einer Predigt von John Henry Newman ausgeht, schwingt der Gedanke von Veränderung, Verklärung und Erneuerung mit und gibt den Ton für eine Aufnahme vor, deren Charakter davon definiert wird, Bilanz zu ziehen, nach innen zu schauen und sich mit der Vergangenheit zu versöhnen. Zu den Kompositionen gehören Littlemore Tractus, Greater Antiphons, Cantique des degrés, Sequentia, L’abbé Agathon, These Words… und Veni creator. Eine tiefgründige Neubearbeitung von Vater unser für Chor, Streicher und Klavier beschließt das Album. Das im vergangenen Jahr in Tallinn aufgenommene und von Manfred Eicher produzierte Album Tractus setzt die Reihe der maßgebenden Arvo Pärt-Alben fort, die 1984 mit dem epochalen Tabula rasa bei ECM New Series begonnen wurde.
Featured Artists Recorded

September 2022, Methodist Church, Tallinn

  • 1Littlemore Tractus
    (John Henry Newman, Arvo Pärt)
    07:29
  • Greater Antiphons
    (Arvo Pärt)
  • 2I. O Wisdom01:18
  • 3II. O Adonai02:35
  • 4III. O Root of Jesse00:52
  • 5IV. O Key of David01:45
  • 6V. O Morning Star01:59
  • 7VI. O King of all People01:31
  • 8VII. O Emmanuel03:02
  • 9Cantique des degrés
    (Traditional, Arvo Pärt)
    09:26
  • 10Sequentia
    (Arvo Pärt)
    03:58
  • 11L'abbé Agathon
    (Traditional, Arvo Pärt)
    13:55
  • 12These Words…
    (Arvo Pärt)
    12:32
  • 13Veni creator
    (Traditional, Arvo Pärt)
    02:57
  • 14Vater unser
    (Traditional, Arvo Pärt)
    03:43
Music and word: In Arvo Pärt’s work, they are manifestly at its core, even when no word is heard, no text has been set to music, but the power of language becomes the subject nonetheless. – Wolfgang Sandner
 
Tractus emphasizes Arvo Pärt compositions that blend the timbres of string orchestra and choir. New versions predominate, with focused performances from the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under Tõnu Kaljuste’s direction that invite alert and concentrated listening. From the opening composition Littlemore Tractus, which takes as its starting point consoling reflections from a sermon by John Henry Newman, the idea of change, transfiguration and renewal resonates, setting a tone for a recording whose character is one of summing up, looking inward, and reconciling with the past.
 
Tõnu Kaljuste, a long-time ally of Pärt, points out that much recent discussion with the composer has revolved around new approaches to the scores. Commenting on the wide-reaching and evocative repertoire brought together here, Wolfgang Sandner remarks in the CD’s liner note, “sound and silence, music and word always remain in dialogue in Arvo Pärt’s work. But the vocal and the instrumental too, the secular and the profane, complement each other. Liturgical ritual and spiritual concert are in exchange and form a context that points to a common origin.”
 
The compositions included on Tractus are based upon or inspired by scriptural, liturgical or other Christian texts. “The text is independent of us,” Pärt once said. “It awaits us. Everyone needs his own time to come to it. The encounter occurs when the text is no longer treated as literature or artwork but as reference point or model.”
 
Recorded in Tallinn’s Methodist Church last year, Tractus extends the line of Arvo Pärt albums begun with Tabula rasa in 1984, the recording which initially brought Pärt’s music to widespread awareness. The collaboration between Arvo Pärt and producer Manfred Eicher has persisted now for forty years: “Our work together making new records is always a celebration,” Pärt has said. “It is something very lively and in continuous formation.”
 
The Tractus album includes a booklet with all sung texts and liner notes by Wolfgang Sandner (in German), and by Kai Kutman (in English)
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 March 19 Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht, Netherlands
2024 March 20 Muziekgebouw Amsterdam, Netherlands
2024 March 21 Schouwburg Concertzaal Tilburg, Netherlands
2024 March 22 deSingel Antwerp, Belgium
2024 March 23 Amare Den Haag, Netherlands
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