- Tribute to Caesar, for chorus
- I Am the True Vine, for chorus
- The Woman with the Alabaster Box, for chorus
- Missa Papae Marcelli, for 6 voices
- Most Holy Mother of God, for male voices
The combination of Palestrina's Renaissance polyphony with Pärt's austere monophony may not seem to make sense intuitively, but the juxtaposition of their works reveals an unexpected aesthetic kinship. Both employ modal harmonic languages with a controlled and strategic use of dissonance, and for both the primacy of the word is foundational to their text setting; in Palestrina's case, in his response to the decree of the Council of Trent that demanded textual intelligibility in liturgical music, and in Pärt's credo, "The Word is more important than the music." This album by the exemplary Netherlands Chamber Choir led by Risto Joost intersperses the movements of Palestrina's magisterial "Missa Papae Marcelli" with three of Pärt's declamatory English settings of extended passages from the Gospels and his motet, "Most Holy Mother of God." The producers had the brilliant insight to close the album with a complete, uninterrupted performance of the Palestrina "Mass." Its inclusion is proof of the principle that context is an essential element in the way we process musical experiences, and listening to the Mass in its entirety at the end makes it possible to hear it with fresh insight; the music is the same, but our perception of it has been altered, opened up. The Netherlands Chamber Choir has a sumptuous, gorgeous blend and sings with supple fluency. Joost draws shapely, emotionally charged performances from his singers in these Renaissance and Contemporary works, which might objectively be described as austere, but which here glow with radiant intensity. The performances would be excellent starting points for listeners who have ever had reservations about exploring the supposed coolness of these repertoires. The engineering beautifully showcases the choir's luminous tone and immaculate articulation. Highly recommended.