The Sum of all Pärts

75th Birthday Celebration and 24 Continuous Hours of Music

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Join Q2 Saturday, September 11 for a 24-hour retrospective of Arvo Pärt, the contemporary Estonian composer known for his poignant and mystical works. You'll hear pieces ranging from the epic St. John Passion, to the rarely heard four symphonies, including the recent Symphony No. 4, "Los Angeles", to the touchstones of Spiegel im Spiegel, Fratres and Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten. In marking this solemn date in history it seems appropriate to feature a composer whose music suggests remembrance, loss and generosity.

Despite early forays into thornier collage and seriel techniques, by the mid-1970's Arvo Pärt had refined his compositional voice into the distinctive "tintinnabular" style that has attracted such a devoted, global following. In an interview with the writer Richard E. Rodda for a Fratres recording liner notes, Pärt says:

Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers - in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning. The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises - and everything that is unimportant falls away. Tintinnabulation is like this... The three notes of a triad are like bells.

From the most rigorous, forward-thinking critic to the most inexpert and recent newcomer to classical music, Arvo Pärt's music seems to leave no one untouched, and his solitary, spiritual musical journey no one unimpressed. One thinks back to the political persecution he suffered in Russia in his earlier days and the subsequent spiritual conversion, and one sees the gathering momentum of a profound musical style. But is this always the case? Some thrive amdist turmoil, beauty being borne of chaos. How does Pärt's path away from oppression and doctrine influence your appreciation of his arrival at tintinnabulation?

Arvo Pärtis

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Comments [5]

Zalubel István


Dear Arvo Pärt!
I would like to freely use the mirror in the mirror was a Holocaust musical masterpiece my pictures showing YouTube
video! Added to the pictures.
Thanks in advance!

Apr. 01 2014 02:16 PM
Owa from Bronx NY

I see nothing wrong with the choice of celebration of Arvo's b-day and 9/11--it is contemplative and introspective. Not many have the capacity to look beyond the immediate hurt and destruction of that event. There are many, many things going on manipulating our emotions. Let Mr. Part's music help us think things through to a deeper, and more revelatory level.

Sep. 11 2010 07:07 PM
Michael Meltzer

Hi Richard:
Yes, you missed the intro to this site on the homepage, which reads,
"Join Q2 Saturday, September 11 for a 24-hour retrospective of Arvo Pärt, the contemporary Estonian composer known for his austere and mystical works. The all-day event not only marks Pärt's 75th birthday but also provides a poignant soundtrack to the anniversary of 9/11."

Sep. 09 2010 08:50 AM

Did I miss something or is the date just coincidence? I see nothing in the above text to link
Pärt's work to the events of 9/11.

Arvo part has nothing to do with 9/11, and the connection does nothing to embellish his body of work..

Sep. 09 2010 08:06 AM
Michael Meltzer

There is nothing wrong with honoring Arvo Pärt on his birthday, good idea. To characterize his individual musical outlook as somehow representative of the essence of 9/11 is presumptuous, and hastily considered in the interest of stylish journalism rather than the profound change 9/11 has exerted upon the lives and thinking of New Yorkers.
Arvo Pärt's musical spirituality is very beautiful in its very private context, but seems to send a clear message of "Life, you are too painful for me to bear!" Intended or not, that is how most of us read it.
For 9/11, for most New Yorkers, that is not enough. We are tougher than that, and there is beauty in that, too. We are galvanized by the spirit of the man who, as the highest musical intelligence alive on the planet, in spite of the pain, isolation and injustice of his deafness, chose in his music to celebrate the joy of life. Beethoven is our standard-bearer. We are also moved by his young follower, Schubert, whose body was wracked with pain and who faced an early demise from a terrible disease, who nevertheless chose in his music to celebrate the joy of life.
Arvo Pärt will probably someday be confirmed as one of the great composers. His music can mirror the pain of 9/11, but that is just a part of the experience. As a universal voice, he is seriously wanting.
If you want to commemorate 9/11, keep looking.

Sep. 09 2010 07:15 AM

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