A new album of the choral works of the Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt, “Stabat Mater: Choral Works by Arvo Pärt”, released by the US-based choir, Gloriæ Dei Cantores, has made it to the top five in the United States Billboard classical chart.
The latest album featuring the choral works Pärt is climbing up the classical chart of Billboard, the music industry standard record chart in the United States. “Stabat Mater: Choral Works by Arvo Pärt” debuted at number 15 in the chart but has now made it to the top five in one of the largest classical music markets of the world.
Immersing in Pärt’s compositional style
The album was recorded and released by Gloriæ Dei Cantores (Latin for “Singers to the Glory of God”), a 40-voice choir based in Orleans, Massachusetts, under the direction of the choir’s artistic director and principal conductor, Richard K. Pugsley. “The recording offers a unique cross-section of Pärt’s choral works, revealing the heart, soul and mind of a true master of his language in both text and music,” a representative of the choir told Estonian World, adding that the choir was “dedicated to promoting the best of sacred choral music”.
“Several years ago, we began an in-depth study of Arvo Pärt, immersing ourselves in his compositional style. We sang his music in worship, on tour and in an extensive concert series at the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA,” the representative said. “Our repertoire includes Pärt’s larger works such as Passio and Stabat Mater as well as the lesser known and performed L’abbé Agathon and Berliner Mass.”
“In this recording, the expressive beauty and clarity of Pärt’s music shines through the joyful dance-like rhythms of Peace Upon You, Jerusalem and the glorious setting of Mary’s words in the Magnificat,” a representative of the choir explained. “The masterful L’abbé Agathon sets the scene of this ancient fourth century story of the chance (or was it?) meeting of the hermit Agathon and a leper. The final work – a musical landmark in Pärt’s career – is Stabat Mater, written to express the passion, agony, and love of Mary at the foot of the cross of her son.”
The album has already earned many positive reviews in the US. The San Francisco Classical Voice said that “Arvo Pärt’s spiritual imagination infuses an exciting disc from Gloriae Dei Cantores” and “the performances throughout radiate conviction and urgency, a sense of belief in every phrase”.
“Gloriæ Dei Cantores” was founded in 1988 and sings in 18 languages. The choir has toured in 23 countries in Europe, Asia and North America.
Arvo Pärt, born in Paide, Estonia, in 1935, was the world’s second most performed living composer in 2019, according to the classical music event database, Bachtrack.
Cover: Gloriæ Dei Cantores. Images by Gloriæ Dei Cantores.