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Paert has become a citizen of the world.

Paert: Triodion, Polyphony (Hyperion CDA67375)

Sitting among the Hilliards Ensemble's audience at Durham Cathedral, last month, Estonian composer Arvo Paert would have had heard his music performed in a glorious setting.

That and the Honorary Doctorate conferred on him by Durham University might just tempt him to look to North-East musical traditions for inspiration.

As the 20-piece vocal ensemble demonstrate on this CD, Paert has become something of a citizen of the world since emigrating to the west in 1980. As a boy he memorised the Robert Burns poem My Heart's in the Highlands. His 1990s setting for countertenor David James is a beautifully haunting piece.

The text of Dopo La Vittoria is a direct translation from the pages of a Russian encyclopaedia into Italian for a commission celebrating the life of Saint Ambrosius. Not Paert's trademark broad sonorous sweep of pure choral sound, but a wonderfully upbeat opening followed by serene exchanges between sections of the choir.

Other settings take liturgical texts, Gospel passages and for the title number, odes from the Orthodox Prayer Book in a tribute to Benjamin Britten. Founder and conductor of Polyphony Stephen Layton directs the group and organist Christopher Bowers-Broadbent with consummate sensitivity to nuance and colour in a fine recording.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2003
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