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Paul Hillier, best known for his recordings of early music, brings that sense of urgency and simple piety to the delicate religious music of Arvo Part. This is music which combines gentleness with real force, and the intelligent singing, and capacity to make moments of silence tell as much as grand effects, is entirely admirable. The opening "Hail Mary" reminds us of Baltic folk-choruses and the more elaborate works here--cantatas to English words from the New Testament--like title work, "Tributeto Caesar" and "The Woman with the Alabaster Box"--never entirely leave that style behind for their more austere sound world. The "Berlin Mass" with organ is a powerful devotional work which combines sheer beauty of sound with liturgical practicalities. In all of this work, most of it recent, Part reveals himself as a great master of acapella
choral writing. --Roz Kaveney