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new-classics.co.uk, October 2014

[Arvo Pärt]…is often at his best when working on a larger scale and this recording by the ensemble Tonus Peregrinus and Antony Pitts captures a thrilling performance of a modern masterpiece. © 2014 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review




Penguin Guide, January 2009

Antony Pitts draws a magnetic performance from his newly founded choir, Tonus Peregrinus, and the soloists taking the roles of Christ and Pilate, and they are atmospherically recorded in bright, clear sound.



Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, August 2003

"An austere recitation that evokes the darkness of the text with relentless rigor...beautifully sung."



William Dart
The New Zealand Herald, June 2003

"The first thing you notice with Tonus Peregrinus' new recording of Arvo Part's St John Passion is just that - passion. Choir and organ announce the work's title with a rousing forte. Part's score has become staple repertoire in the choral repertoire; a minimalist Bach for our time.

Despite much that is lulling in the music, there is also drama. The chanting textures are more broken up; solid soloists handle the parts of Jesus and Pilate and instrumental colours [sic], especially oboe, are crucial.

This Naxos recording, at budget price, is extraordinary value. Minimalist it might be, but, when it comes to conveying the power of the Gospel story, it­Ýs far from minimal."



Kevin Sutton
MusicWeb International, June 2003

"Sound quality is excellent. Naxos's engineers capture the warm and lengthy reverberation of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul beautifully. There are now three commercial recordings of this fine work in circulation, and this one is certainly world class. Naxos have gone out of their way to present this recording in fine packaging with a simple yet profound sleeve cover, and the notes by the conductor are superb. Full text and translations are provided, another plus not common to Naxos, but utterly necessary for any choral or vocal recording to be taken seriously.

Now twenty-one years old, this is a work that is coming into its own and holding onto its place as an important composition. Long may it live, and this recording has certainly contributed to its future appreciation."



Robert Baxter
Courier-Post, May 2003

"There is a timeless quality in the music that rivets the attention of the listener. Pitts and his musicians convey the spirit of Passio in this fine recording."



Wilma Salisbury
Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 2003

"Recorded in the resonant acoustics of an English church, the dramatic work is beautifully performed by Tonus Pereginus, an ensemble of eight voices and five instruments under the direction of Antony Pitts. Bass Robert MacDonald sings Jesus' words with sepulchral tone. Tenor Mark Anderson brings vocal fire to the role of Pilate. Grade A."



Nicholas Williams
BBC Music Magazine, April 2003

"In contrast to shorter choral works such as the Seven Magnificat Antiphons, Passio has received few recordings, the benchmark being the first, that of the Hilliard Ensemble on ECM, a classic of its kind and a tough rival for Naxos to challenge with its third release to date of the composer's music. Yet in Anthony Pitts and Tonus Peregrinus a most dedicated team has been chosen for the task."




James Jolly
Gramophone, April 2003

"Arvo Pärt's Passio is a shining beacon among countless late-20th-century religious works,' Rob Cowan declares at the beginning of his review. Certainly this characteristically ascetic setting of St John's gospel, composed in 1982, is one that transcends the doubt and nihilism of its own age to offer something with a simple honesty, quiet beauty and beguiling directness of expression. Antony Pitts' Tonus Peregrinus deliver an elegantly agile and eloquent performance of depth and distinction."




Rob Cowan
Gramophone, April 2003

"Viewed overall, Tonus Peregrinus and Naxos have done Pärt proud. If this is your first Passio, rest assured that all the essentials are there. And if you want a top-grade specimen of quality music from the past 40 years, you won't find better. Passio truly is a wonderful work."



Richard Perry
Ottawa Citizen, April 2002

"For this new Naxos recording, the Oxford-based Tonus Peregrinus and its leader Antony Pitts submitted their performance to Part who then commented upon all of the balancing of values; readjustments were later edited into the final recording. The performance achieves utter luminosity, and allows us to appreciate the striking effects of Part's unusual harmonies and microtonal dissonance. This is a real winner in Naxos's increasingly surprising, budget-priced catalogue."



Robert Carl
Fanfare

"This is an excellent performance and recording, which projects effectively these qualities... Buying this new release is an excellent investment, especially if one is on a budget.



C. Michael Bailey
All About Jazz

"The group's performance is exact and refined and reflects the authenticity that Pitts earned by consulting with the composer. In any event, this Passio is a fine addition to a repertoire that remains much too small."



Neil Horner
MusicWeb International

"Almost all the best recordings of Pärt's music have involved either the composer himself (as advisor rather than performer) or people who know or have at least interviewed/spoken with him. This superb first budget version of the Passio is no exception and I realised, even before listening, when I read Antony Pitts' notes that I was about to hear a great interpretation.

Musically speaking, this could be one of Naxos's most important releases to date. Passio is music that takes us far beyond everyday mundanities, to the true meaning of life (and death). It is music that is of our time but also out of time (timeless?). You ought to hear it and Antony Pitts has provided you with the perfect opportunity."






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6:21:12 PM, 26 November 2014
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