Magazine article Gramophone

Part: Kanon Pokajanen

Magazine article Gramophone

Part: Kanon Pokajanen

Article excerpt

Part

Kanon Pokajanen Cappella Amsterdam / Daniel Reuss Harmonia Mundi (F) HMC90 5274 (60' * DDD * T/t)

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Premiered in Cologne in 1998, Kanon Pokajanen for a cappella choir is one of Part's most uncompromising and austere works. It is also one of his most challenging. Each singer is required to sustain perfect intonation across the work's 90-minute span while attending to the microscopic subtleties and nuances of the text. The text itself--St Andrew of Crete's canon of repentance exerted such a profound impression on Part that it took him two years to complete the work, which comprises eight Odes, two shorter hymns ('Kontakion' and 'Ikos', heard around the midway point), and concludes with a setting of the 'Prayer after the Canon'.

Ode 1 sets out the work's main musical ideas: first, a series of strident chords oscillating between tonic and dominant; second, a pulsing, hocket-like idea supported by pedal bass; third, low tenors and basses singing lines that yield darker semitonal clashes; fourth, a more expansive, lyrical melody, harmonised in thirds between sopranos and altos; and, finally, a short homophonie statement based on the notes of a D minor triad. …

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