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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 November 2010
This is a hauntingly beautiful account of St John's Passion, quite otherworldly. Compared to other composers, Part refuses to cheapen the piece with any melodramatic fireworks, instead simply letting the text and music convey the magnitude of the Passion, so more closely aligned to earlier mediaeval polyphony. (Indeed Tonus Peregrinus recorded St Luke's Passion in this manner, also on Naxos).
Thus unadorned, this is music with Part's trademark ebb and flow of melody, with appropriate pauses, to let the music breathe.
As a result, the overall piece is the more powerful, and deeply moving, for this restraint. Exquisitely sung,the transcendent beauty of the waves of music have both a deep sadness, yet a healing tranquillity at their heart. This is music which reaches out beyond the boundaries of specific religion, offering redemption to all faithful listeners. An arresting and haunting composition.
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on 10 May 2012
I have been listening to Part's music for some time now, but this one had escaped me. I was stunned by this CD. It is unlike anything I've encountered in choral music. There is a commitment and gravitas in this music throughout, from start to finish (which is fitting given the subject matter of the music); it is music to be taken seriously, and it seems to point away from itself to God (or so it seems to me). I was listening to this whilst reading the gospel of John, and the music brought the words to life. I fully recommend this CD. It is very gentle music but has an awesome purity about it.
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on 2 April 2003
I was not familiar with Arvo Part's music before I heard this recording, but on the basis of this CD I am determined to hear not only more of his work, but also more of the artists, Tonus Peregrinus.
The music is indeed mininalist and ethereal, but imparts to the listener a sense of space, loss and desolation perfectly captured by Tonus Peregrinus' recording. The grand acoustics of the recording location compliment this well.
Listening to this piece makes all the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I would recommend the recording to anyone who likes music to stir deep emotions within them.
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on 3 November 2009
It is extrordinary how the passion according to St John can be the subject of such different music. Coming to Part from say Bach's take on this, one is astounded by the difference in musical language and yet they both communicate in their own way (if that is not stating the obvious re Bach) to a deeper understanding of the narrative. Part's account is, as you would expect, minimalist, but one is strangley moved by it despite the apparent monotony and subtle variations.
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on 22 March 2008
... and the word dominates this outstanding performance.

You need to listen with the Latin text (and translation) in your hand - the subtleties of both the performance and the setting leap out at you if you do.

Giving the strong base voice to Jesus (a masterful performance here) rather than a tenor imbues the role with an authority rarely attained in other settings of the text; splitting the Evangelist into a quartet of voices gives a dynamism; collectivising the other 'characters' makes us all responsible for the events.

I am not a Christian - but this work moved me in a way only 'Bach' has managed to do before.

And at the price ... !
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on 6 December 2015
No idea how this compared with other recordings. Have only just discovered Part's music. Fabulous, haunting stuff.
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on 27 November 2015
Would recommend this as a great way of getting into Arvo Pärt.
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on 14 January 2015
Best ever
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on 21 October 2015
Simply stunning; many thanks!
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on 7 March 2003
At one level this is a perfect or near perfect rendition of this piece: a restrained ethereal performance of the work of a restrained ethereal composer.
But within a few minutes I'm longing for some emotion - any emotion - to pierce the crystaline heart of this piece.
We have had microtonal music - Part gives us micropausal music, and doubtless noone could reproduce it more exactly that Tonus Peregrinus here. But surely there is more to performance than that? Would a little drama be permissable? Maybe even a little hint of religious fervour ? I say this as the accoustic chosen it quite distant - this sounds as if it could have been recorded (and well recorded) in a church. The meticulous approach of the performers really needs a closer accoustic to accentuate the musical details they have lavished so much care on.
As the disc ends I feel that I have witnessed - not so much the performance of this work - as its dissection - and however meticulously that has been done - something important is missing.
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