A World Apärt: 24-Hour Arvo Pärt Marathon

24-Hour Celebration Covering the Vast, Spiritual Music of the Estonian Icon

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Composer Arvo Pärt in a recording session Composer Arvo Pärt in a recording session (Peter Adamik/NPR Music)

On Saturday, May 24, Q2 Music presented A World Apärt – a sonic celebration of the music of Arvo Pärt, one of the most revolutionary and recognizable voices of the 21st century. Hosted by Helga Davis (Einstein on the Beach) with a playlist compiled by noted Pärt scholar Toomas Siitan, A World Apärt offered a complete aural immersion into musical corners both known and obscure of the iconic Estonian.

The 12-hour marathon (played twice in one day) was repeated on June 2, the same day as Q2 Music's live audio webcast of the sold-out show of Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur. 

Born September 11, 1935 in Paide, Estonia, Pärt has been the world's most performed living composer for the past three years with almost 300 recordings available in the U.S. alone. He's been interviewed by Bjork; and his music has been used in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, Gus van Sant, Michael Mann and many more. He's obtained a prominence in popular culture reserved normally for pop musicians, after coming first to the attention of Western audiences in 1984 with the release of the breakthrough album Tabula Rasa on the ECM label, and all this as a composer known primarily for religious choral works. 

Pärt's current and highly original musical language, tintinnabuli (Latin for 'little bell'), first took shape with the 1976 solo piano piece, Für Alina, and followed earlier periods of experimentation with neoclassical piano music, 12-tone writing, collage techniques and chance music. Pärt's tinntinnabuli is characterized by intense emotional content in an intimate and uncluttered style (which belies its intricate organization schemes), and by its blend of simplicity and religious content. 

Fellow composers have cited him as an influence, whether for his music (and that less notes could actually mean more music), or for his bravery in forging a unique, powerful and spiritual voice in the face of Soviet restrictions. 

A World Apärt features a broad, 12-hour swathe of performances by his leading interpreters, including conductors Paul Hillier, Tõnu Kaljuste, Paavo Järvi, Dennis Russell Davies and Stephen Layton; ensembles Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Theatre of Voices, Hilliard Ensemble, Polyphony and Latvian Radio Choir; soloists Alexei Lubimov, Gidon Kremer, and many more. 

A World Apärt is part of Q2 Music's ongoing 24 on the 24th marathon series of 24-hour celebrations of a particular corner of today's dynamic classical music scene on the 24th of each month. If you have suggestions as to a marathon you'd like to hear, leave them in the comments section below. 

Hosted by:

Helga Davis

Produced by:

Alex Ambrose

Contributors:

Toomas Siitan

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Comments [18]

gary from san francisco

If anyone recalls what was the choral piece which Helga Davis introduced by explaining the composer's tintinnabulationi vision : please email me < gary [dot] gach [at] gmail [dot] com > or post it here. Thank you! ( I missed the name the first time -- & it was the point at which the evening version cut off -- & the precise playlisting stops after Stabat Mater ) thnx

All in all it was a sterling event. Commentary was deft & impeccable, as was the mellifuous apt commentator ( & Mr McKnight even present ) & despite the enormity depth & intense subtlety of the body of work selections were on the dime. The recital was awesome. And where else can music lovers immerse in the totality of a composer's lifeworks, be it Bach or Part?

Thank you, one and all

Jun. 03 2014 09:44 AM
alex

The musicians -- especially the singers -- are extraordinary as well. Their sonority breathes such exquisite life into Pärt's works.

Jun. 02 2014 08:56 PM
Flora from Upper West Side

I heard Arvo Part's "Adam's Lament" on May 31, 2014 at Carnegie. It moved me and the audience beyond tears. There was an amazingly polite mob scrum for the few CDs they had for sale. It's relatively new piece--2009. The text, by St. Silouthian, a near contemporary (1863-1936?), was said by the program to be about "Adam's fall from grace and his grief at losing God" --and that rubric is amazingly similar in genre to how the Song of Solomon is said by the religious to be about the love of Christ for the Church. That is to say, it expresses everything a human being can feel about human, carnal love and its deepest joys that keep evil at bay, and the desolation of when we lose it. St. Silouthian, we hardly knew ye. Be with us now.

Jun. 02 2014 08:31 PM
Lis from California

Although I am an atheist, Arvo Part's music touches me in a way no other music has. Thank you for this marathon. It is magnificent. My regret is that I cannot come to New York for the performances. I adore this music.

Jun. 02 2014 03:13 PM
Jerome from New York, New York

Maybe this is low hanging fruit, but why would you not call this marathon a Pärty?

Jun. 02 2014 12:14 PM
Richard from Astana, Kazakhstan

What time on June 2 does the replay of the Arvo Part marathon start?

Jun. 01 2014 11:39 PM

@Richard from Astana, Kazakhstan

You can catch an encore presentation of the marathon this coming Monday, June 2. The same day as our live webcast at 7 pm from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir singing Part's Kanon Pokajanen.

Details on the webcast here: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/listen-live-arvo-part-and-estonian-philharmonic-chamber-choir/

May. 28 2014 03:39 PM
Richard from Astana, Kazakhstan

Well, I am bummed! cause it seems I caught only the tail end of this. I LOVE his music. Any chance you will re-stream the marathon?

May. 25 2014 10:29 AM
June

I was not familiar with Part but a friend said he was listening and so I tuned in earlier today. I was unexpectedly pulled into the music with it's haunting, airy direction and texture.
Thank-you Helga, you are a wonderful guide.

May. 24 2014 09:51 PM
SJohnson from New Mexico

Thank you so much for this marathon. I can say as an atheist that I find Part's religious choral music exquisitely moving. He goes far deeper than religion to the deepest expressions of our humanity.

May. 24 2014 09:07 PM
Mirra Meylakh from Boston, MA

Thank you so much for Arvo Part marathon. I am at the same age as Arvo Part himself and I adore his music from young ages. But listening his music all day long take me to higher level of penetration of musical and spiritual depth of Part's music. He is genius.

May. 24 2014 08:56 PM

I've been a huge fan of Arvo since college; so much so, in fact, that I wrote a so-called 'passion essay' as my statement of purpose for law schools in the hours between New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. You can read it here, as I posted it yesterday. https://medium.com/p/62a4e4b34ed4

May. 24 2014 08:22 PM
Bob McCauley from Houston, TX

This is a great immersion in Part's music - however - the playlist function breaking down the segments does NOT seem to be working. A big problem and a failing in this undertaking...

May. 24 2014 07:42 PM

I love Arvo Part's music, along with John (Coolidge) Adams, Gavin Bryars, etc. I first heard Arvo Part on Nimet's Overnight Music, specifically Spiegel im Spiegel. I am looking for Harp arrangements of their pieces, also thinking of doing one myself for Spiegel im Spiegel (both parts).

May. 24 2014 05:59 PM
Cecilia from Houston

My dad introduced me to this artist's music and I haven't disliked his music since.

May. 24 2014 05:47 PM
james hanbury

i have already turned to another station twice due to the announcer's habit
of droning on endlessly on some idiot topic. i did not contribute to this station to hear ms davis rant. get rid of her.

May. 24 2014 12:44 PM
Mary Ann Willoughby from NYC

I wanted to thank you for doing this Arvo Part marathon, i am a huge fan of Part's music and am so excited to see him when he comes to NYC next week. I first heard Part's music when i was a young dancer living and working in the Bay area 1982. The first piece I heard was Tabula Rasa and I have been hooked ever since.This year has been a big year for him and i am so happy to see that more people recognize his genius and magnificence. He is an international treasure and such a rare artist and man. Thank you again!

Mary Ann Willoughby

May. 24 2014 10:52 AM
thom

What are the hours of the broadcast? They are not mentioned in the article. Thanks.

May. 21 2014 05:02 PM

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