The starting point for Litany was a commission received from the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene, US. For this reason, Pärt selected an English text as the basis for his composition.
Arvo Pärt: “The English language lacks plasticity which is brought to music with long words. Working with a text in English, I had to make new discoveries and use melodic constructions that I normally don’t use in my music, to extract material from words and sentences. The text for Litany helped me a lot because it is already a finished musical form in itself.”
The author of this famous text is John Chrysostom (“the golden-mouthed”), an outstanding 4th century theologian, poet and philosopher. As the subtitle says, the text contains short prayers for every hour of the da…
David James (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), John Potter (tenor), Gordon Jones (bass), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Tõnu Kaljuste (conductor). CD Litany. ECM New Series 1592
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The Hilliard Ensemble (David James (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), John Potter (tenor), Gordon Jones (bass)), Oregon Festival Chorus , Oregon Festival Orchestra , Helmuth Rilling (conductor)