Arvo Pärt and the Tallis Scholars

The Tallis Scholars sing more than just Renaissance music. The world-renowned ensemble is equally praised for bringing fresh interpretations to music by contemporary composers, including Arvo Pärt.

About Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt (b.1935)

Arvo Pärt (b.1935)

Born 11 September 1935, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is perhaps one of the most widely recognized composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. His œuvre is classical and religious in scope. Since 1976, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli (Read our article The Tintinnabuli of Arvo Pärt from last September).

REMEMBER THIS...? Luminous Voices kicked off its fifth anniversary last fall with a performance of of Pärt's Berliner Messe.

The Woman with the Alabaster Box

Though written many centuries later, the work of Arvo Pärt owes much to the Renaissance manner of musical expression. A number of his works set passages from the Gospels, in a narrative manner that eschews overt text expression in favour of lending the words a sort of gilded clarity. The Woman with the Alabaster Box is the story of is an almost trance-like recitation, beautiful in its restraint, condensing the texture for Jesus’ words before expanding it again for the climax.

The Woman with the Alabaster Box is a setting of a Biblical text (Matthew 26: 6-13). Alabaster is a strong, dense stone, similar to marble, that can be found in Israel and the surrounding areas. This beautiful, precious stone was used to add beauty to Solomon's Temple (1 Chronicles 29:2). Because of its beauty and strength, alabaster was often used for storing precious perfume. 

  • VIDEO: A live recording of The Tallis Scholars singing The Woman with the Alabaster Box by Arvo Pärt at a concert in Amasterdam (01 May 2016). Scroll to 11:37 for the performance.