Stabat Mater: Choral Works by Arvo Pärt Gloriae Dei Cantores & Richard K. Pugsley
- Arvo Pärt (b. 1935):
- 1Peace upon You, Jerusalem04:50
- 2L'abbé Agathon14:34
- 3Salve Regina11:35
- 5Nunc dimittis06:22
- 6Stabat Mater25:09
Info for Stabat Mater: Choral Works by Arvo Pärt
Modest about his achievements yet authentically convinced about the role of his music in today’s world, Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) is today’s most performed “classical” composer. For the past forty years, Pärt’s compositions have shown and spoken the influence of multiple layers and global influences – the music of the Orthodox Church, bells, Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, a compositional technique he developed called “tintinnabuli”, and…silence. This particular 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.
The expressive beauty and clarity of his music shines through the joyful dance-like rhythms of Peace Upon You, Jerusalem and the glorious setting of Mary’s own words in the Magnificat. Pärt’s masterful setting of L’abbé Agathon sets the scene of an ancient 4th century story of the chance (or was it?) meeting of the hermit Agathon and a leper. After several testings of the hermit’s patience and his generosity, the leper reveals himself to be an angel, and blesses the hermit Agathon, and goes on his way. The final work – one of Arvo Pärt’s largest choral works is Stabat Mater, written to express the passion, agony and love of Mary at the foot of the cross of her son.
Arvo Pärt’s most distinct compositional voice that we hear on this recording is the technique he developed called “Tintinnabuli,” which has been called a “theology” expressing the composer’s search for truth, beauty, and purity and a profound and personal sense that life and faith cannot be separated. Before he developed this compositional style, Arvo Pärt heard a snippet of Gregorian Chant on the radio in a bookstore: it was like an icon —a window to another world. “In one moment it was clear how much deeper and more pure is this world,” he said. He began to fill his notebooks with the ancient chant melodies and they came to influence his well known compositional form known as Tintinnabuli.
Gregorian Chant is an integral part of Gloriæ Dei Cantores’ study and the foundation of their understanding of western music. Members sing the offices of Gregorian Chant daily in Latin at the Church of the Transfiguration, a modern day abbey rooted in the Benedictine tradition. This daily worship profoundly influences their approach to the music they sing in worship and in concert. For over thirty years since their founding in 1988, they have studied and performed the works of over 200 composers ranging from Gregorian Chant to the 21st Century. Dedicated to promoting the best of sacred choral music, several years ago Gloriæ Dei Cantores began an in depth study of Arvo Pärt.
Immersing themselves in Arvo Pärt’s compositional style, they sang his music in worship, on tour and during an extensive concert series at the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA. Their repertoire includes Arvo Pärt’s larger works such as Passio and the Stabat Mater as well as the lesser known and performed L’abbé Agathon and Berliner Mass.
Each member of Gloriæ Dei Cantores has presented in-depth study projects on Arvo Pärt’s composition style and his musical approach to the vision and the text. Striving to present the true intention of the composer and to bring to life the music and vision as the composer himself would have liked to hear it portrayed, conductor, Richard K. Pugsley coaches the choir to step aside and allow the music itself to bring forth a vision, and to communicate the soul and spirit of the sound.
Richard K. Pugsley has conducted the internationally recognized Gloriæ Dei Cantores for over 15 years, and he performed with the choir in concert halls and churches in 24 countries throughout Europe, Russia, and North America for over 20 years.
Maestro Pugsley has studied Gregorian chant extensively with the late Dr. Mary Berry, CBE—noted choral conductor, musicologist, an authority on the performance of Gregorian Chant and founder of The Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.
This experience and study culminates in his search for the core sound of a piece, and his desire to bring it to life to communicate truth and beauty. His text driven approach aligns with that of Arvo Pärt, allowing the harmonies and music to speak for themselves and to enliven the text for the listeners and touch their hearts.
Gloriae Dei Cantores
Richard K. Pugsley, conductor
Gloriae Dei Cantores
(Singers to the Glory of God) holds a passionate dedication to illuminate truth and beauty through choral artistry, celebrating a rich tradition of sacred choral music from Gregorian chant to the twenty-first century.
Founded in 1988, Gloriæ Dei Cantores from Orleans, MA, under the direction of Richard K. Pugsley, has touched the hearts of audiences in 23 countries in Europe, Russia, and North America, receiving extensive critical acclaim for its artistic elegance, performance authenticity, and compelling spirituality.
Distributed in the United States and internationally by Naxos, the choir’s discography of over 50 recordings showcases their extensive repertoire, encompassing both masterworks and rarely performed musical treasures from Gregorian chant to the 21st century.
Highlights of the choir’s career include three invitational tours of Russia, opening the 900th anniversary of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, live radio and television broadcasts with the BBC, film soundtracks, the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Plaza, and performances in some of the finest concert halls throughout Europe and the United States.
The choir’s collaborative ventures have included ten Holiday Tours with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, a sixteen-city US tour of Mozart’s Requiem with Philippe Entremont and the Munich Symphony Orchestra (Columbia Artists, CAMI, LLC), performances of Mozart’s Requiem with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia, and world premiere concerts and recordings with Grammy-award-winning artist Mark O’Connor. They have also appeared on the concert stage and in recordings with John Williams, Samuel Adler, Stephen Cleobury, Vladimir Minin, and the late George Guest, Mary Berry, and Margaret Hillis, among others.
Gloriæ Dei Cantores makes its home at the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA, where the choir sings weekly worship services, concerts, and recordings throughout the year. The members’ ongoing life of worship – Sunday Eucharist, Choral Evensong and Liturgy of the Hours in Gregorian chant – is the foundation of the choir’s artistry, enabling their extensive repertoire to become a vibrant form of prayer in any setting. Their music conveys “a kind of utter, rapt, spiritual intensity, that you simply can’t imagine unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.” (American Record Guide)
The church has been called “an acoustical marvel” (American Record Guide) creating a sound of “sheer beauty” (HR Audio.net) and “sonic splendor” (Fanfare).
Richard K. Pugsley
Known for his musical sensitivity and performance authenticity, Richard K. Pugsley, Director of the world renowned Gloriæ Dei Cantores, has been applauded for his “expert conducting” (Mozart Forum). Pugsley has conducted the internationally recognized Gloriæ Dei Cantores for over 15 years, and performed with the choir in concert halls and churches in 24 countries throughout Europe, Russia, and North America for over 25 years. His passion for enlivening the sacred texts of choral literature as relevant and present encounters of sung prayer spans the traditions of ancient Gregorian chant, to classic repertoire, modern works, and rarely-performed choral gems.
Maestro Pugsley has conducted over 2,000 works at the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA. Featured performances have included; Bach’s Furchte dich nicht, Lobe den Herren, Komm Jesu komm, Jesu der du meine Seele, Jesu meine Freude, Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied; Beethoven’s Mass in C minor, Missa Solemnis; Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Festival Te Deum, and Rejoice in the Lamb; Bruckner’s Os Justi and Pange Lingua, Messe in F Minor; Des Prez’s Missa Pange Lingua; Ešenvalds’ Trinity Te Deum, Psalm 67, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis; Gretchaninov’s Missa Festiva; Grieg’s Fire Salmer; Hanson’s Cherubic Hymn and How Excellent thy Name; Haydn’s Mass in D Minor; Howells’ A Sequence for St. Michael, Requiem, and Take Him Earth for Cherishing; Ives’ Psalm 100, and Psalm 135; Kodaly’s Missa Brevis; Langlais’ Missa Solonnelle and Messe en style ancien; Martin’s Mass for Double Choir; Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mass in C Minor, Mass in E flat Minor, Scande coeli limina, and Vesperae Solenenes de Confessore; Pärt’s Salve Regina, Berliner Messe, L’abbé Agathon, and Peace Be Upon You, O Jerusalem; Persichetti’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and Mass for Mixed Chorus; Poulenc’s Four Lenten motet’s, Four Advent motets and Gloria; Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom; Rheinberger’s Mass in E, Mass in F and Mass in G; Sowerby’s An Angel Stood by the Altar, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D and Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in E minor; Stravinsky’s Mass for Mixed Chorus and Winds; Vaughan Williams’ The Call and Mass in G minor.
In addition, numerous operatic and choral performances such as Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu nostri; Carissimi’s Jephtha; Händel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt, and Saul; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Beethoven’s Mass in C minor, Berger’s Brazilian Psalm; Brahm’s Requiem; Britten’s The Company of Heaven, Duruflé’s Requiem; Ešenvalds’ In Paradisum; Faure’s Requiem; Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality, For St. Cecilia, Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice, Welcome Sweet and Sacred Feast, and Requiem de Camera; Handel’s Israel and Egypt; Haydn’s The Creation; Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors; and J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Mozart’s Requiem; Pärt’s Passio, Rachmaninoff’s
All Night Vigil; Sviridov’s Three Choruses from Tsar Feodor Ioannovich and Ineffable Mystery (Ñeizr̃echénnoe Chúdo); Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem and Walton’s The Twelve.
His directing in the New England Premiere in 2005 of The Pilgrim’s Progress was heralded by the Boston Globe as “powerful in conception and polished in execution.”
A soloist of critical acclaim, Mr. Pugsley’s most recent performance as the lead role of Pilgrim in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ opera, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was hailed for his “fully-embodied” and “musically thrilling” (NewsMax) performance, “where he captured the character’s humility and resilient faith” (Boston Classical Review). Other lead roles have included Saul in Händel’s oratorio, Saul, Pilgrim in the 2005 New England Premiere of Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrims Progress, solo roles in Duruflé’s Requiem, and works by Bach, Copeland, Grieg, Händel, Sowerby, and Vaughan Williams, among others.
An accomplished producer of over thirty recordings on the Paraclete label, Richard is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the Producers and Engineers wing. A recent project, a collaborative recording featuring Gloriæ Dei Cantores of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, has been hailed as “one of the very finest recordings this work has ever received” (Fanfare); “. . . a superlative recording . . . beyond glorious,” (The Buffalo News); and “…brilliant recording… sheer beauty” (HR.Audio.net).
Maestro Pugsley is a tenacious advocate for youth music education, continually inspiring young musicians to reach their greatest potential and experience the joy of excellence through performance. He has been recognized as an extraordinary teacher and coach of vocal technique. Pugsley has directed numerous ensembles and led workshops with thousands of students throughout the world including in South Africa, South Korea, Australia, and across the United States.