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Jens F. Laurson, October 2019

…The album’s aural impression is uniform, the sound very good, and the singing crisp and up to the high standards of this phenomenal professional chorus. The unaccompanied Seven Magnificat Antiphons, led by Peter Dijkstra, are specifically excellent. © 2019 Read complete review

Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, September 2017

The Bavarians have dug into their concert vault to come up with this collection of Arvo Pärt’s works recorded in 2000, 2005, and 2011. And while there’s no shortage of such programs bidding for your attention, this is a very good one.

For starters, the music never gets into a rut; we hear the composer embracing a number of different styles. The Collage gives us the baroque idiom on bad acid, with quotes from the English Suite and the musical spelling of Bach’s own name deconstructing into scorching dissonances that would have had Leipzig in a dither had Bach strayed so far from the 18th Century norm. The Magnificat Antiphons demonstrate the composer’s flair for chiaroscuro as he creates musical lights and shadows with the flair of a Dutch master. The Cantus memorializing Britten unleashes the bell-like sounds of Pärt’s tintinnabuli style, which also rings out in the tribute to St Cecilia, but in more austere fashion. Litany has the composer cozying up to the chant lines and open harmonies of the Middle Ages. With the Hilliard Ensemble and counter-tenor David James leading the tour, those 23 minutes of time travel pass quickly. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, July 2017

These works provide the key in microcosm to all that has given us pause and wonder in the special spirituality that is the mature Pärt for us.

This is a fine collection that everyone should probably hear. Certainly anyone who follows new music today needs to know Pärt, but then anyone of a general classical bent should also, and, why not, just everyone out there who loves music as well. Confirmed Pärt appreciators will find in this anthology many reasons to own it, even if you already have versions of some of these works,

A triumphant offering! Listen. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Dominy Clements
MusicWeb International, July 2017

Titled ‘Arvo Pärt Live’, this is the kind of release that can enrich and enhance your Pärt collection even if you already have recordings of some or even all of the works here. With fine recordings in nicely resonant church acoustics of mostly excellent performances, you can make discoveries and further enhance your appreciation of this composer.

As an album it is a satisfying and at times deeply powerful experience by any objective terms, and hearing live performances by top musicians is almost always a treat. This mixture of shorter and more extended works provides a useful introduction to Pärt if you are a newcomer, and will be a rewarding attraction to his many fans. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, July 2017

The terse, three-movement Collage über B-A-C-H will come as a shock to those fed on a diet of tintinnabuli Pärt. Here, the composer juxtaposes Bach fragments with jagged chromatic clusters. …This is dark homage rather than playful parody, however, and the Munich Radio Orchestra under Robert King get it right.

The Hilliard Ensemble, Bavarian Radio Chorus (excellent in the seven Magnificat Antiphonen) and Munich Radio Orchestra are all brought together for Pärt’s powerful setting of the Litany, providing another striking ending to an impressive recording—resonant sub-basses shaking the very foundations of St Gabriel’s Church, Munich, with low C sharps. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, June 2017

…the Seven Magnificat Antiphons scored for mixed choir a-cappella, a contemporary setting of the Vesper service from the Roman Catholic liturgy, the chorus provides plenty of weighty and dynamic contrast to these devotional pieces. Especially memorable, the second movement O Adonai with its deep bass voices evokes the atmosphere of Russian Orthodox choral tradition. The central movement O Schlüssel Davids with its gratifying climax is given a majestic performance by Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Peter Dijkstra’s direction. Pärt’s Cecilia, vergine romana for mixed choir and orchestra is a type of oratorio on the life and martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, a subject that inspired the composer. …The writing, based on material of tintinnabuli triads, contains some meltingly beautiful post-Romantic passages contrasted with starkly dramatic episodes. It is hard to fault the evocative performance of the impressive Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Münchner Rundfunkorchester under Ulf Schirmer. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Dean Frey
Music for Several Instruments, April 2017

When the recording is as powerfully and beautifully played and sung and recorded as is this Arvo Pärt Live disc, we really cannot ask for more. The works chosen represent a cross-section of some of the greatest works by the Estonian composer, from his early Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten for string orchestra & bell, to the choral a cappella work Seven Magnificat Antiphons, to the complex work for chorus and orchestra Cecilia, vergine romana. The album begins with another early work, the Collage on BACH for strings, oboe, harpsichord and piano, which though it’s in a completely different style than the rest of the works, stands as a sign-post to Pärt’s future development. And it ends with the mysterious Litany—Prayers of St John Chrysostom for Each Hour of the Day and Night, which is beautifully sung by the Hilliard Ensemble. The 70 minutes of music takes one through passages of alternating terror, awe, sorrow and joy, which are liable to result in a profound aesthetic and/or religious experience. © 2017 Music for Several Instruments Read complete review

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