Rhinegold

John Barnett

… and …

4:34, 2nd February 2021

Ars Nova Copenhagen / Paul Hillier (dir)
Naxos 8.574281 [62:48]
★★★★★

This CD is subtitled ‘A collection of sacred music by Arvo Pärt, Julia Wolfe, Caroline Shaw, interspersed with songs from the Laudario di Cortona, Italy’. Paul Hillier and his Ars Nova Copenhagen are well versed in contemporary choral music and enjoy a special relationship with Pärt and his soundworld. Most of Pärt’s short pieces on this CD were written during the last decade and offer a window onto his finely crafted musical language. But this release offers far more: Hillier has devised a journey of a programme which not only includes pieces by Caroline Shaw (and the swallow) and Julia Wolfe (Guard my tongue) alongside Pärt, but also includes Hillier’s own arrangements of six laude from the Laudario di Cortona, an extensive collection compiled in the 13th century and not rediscovered until the 1870s. The leaps between our own time and Umbria 700 years ago seem entirely natural in Hillier’s hands and the virtuosic vocalists of Ars Nova are completely inside the music. This is an uplifting disc, superbly executed.

PHILIP REED

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