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I Am the True Vine

By Arvo Part

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Choral soprano voice, bass voice, alto voice, tenor
Composed by Arvo Part (1935-). Bible, St John 15, 1-14. World Premiere: Norwich Cathedral Norwich / Great Britain. Part. With Standard notation. Composed 1996. Universal Edition #UE030301. Published by Universal Edition (PR.UE030301).

Item Number: PR.UE030301

ISBN 9783702410285. Bible, St John 15, 1-14.

Written for the 900th anniversary of the foundation of Norwich Cathedral in 1996, this setting from Chapter 15 of St. John's Gospel shows Part at his most controlled. lnspired by the strength and simplicity of the metaphor, Part sets up a pattern of notes that is strictly repeated six times throughout the span of the work. Rhythms alter each time, to suit the text, and bass and soprano pedal notes enhance the fourth repetition - but the pitches remain the same, creating a sinuous continuity. Within this framework of pitches, the vine metaphor is further reinforced by the systematic adding and subtracting of voices. One voice part sings one note, another joins them for the second, another for the third. The pattern is rigorous - 1 2 3 3 2 1 2 3 3, etc. - creating a smooth switchback from lower to upper registers. Like a number of Part's pieces which are governed by such compositional conceits, the expressive reality in performance is quite unlike the seemingly bleak prospect on paper. And, as ever, Part knows how to fashion the conclusion perfectly. (Meurig Bowen, 2003).

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