Friday, May 6, 2016
COMPOSER ARVO PÄRT: LOVE FOR EVERY NOTE
This week's arts and culture piece is on the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, and an upcoming LA Phil series.
Here's how the piece begins:
I once spent a month at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony in Temecula, California. At the time, the cabins had no electricity. We rose and slept by the sun, wrote on rickety manual typewriters and read by kerosene lamps. Three weeks in, steeped in solitude and silence, I finally turned on the battery-powered radio to the local classical station.
The piece of music that came through was so sublime — a moment now enshrined in memory — that I simply lay in the dark and wept, whether in sorrow or joy I couldn’t quite tell. The piece was “Berliner Messe” [Berlin Mass] by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) — our most performed contemporary composer.
The Guardian observes, “Arvo Pärt is one of those composers you might think you know: a reclusive, extravagantly bearded Estonian who’s ensconced in a world of so-called “holy minimalism” — a reverie of simplicity that luxuriates in the pure sounds of ‘tintinnabulatory’ tonality, which sounds a corrective (for some) and sentimental (for others) note of archaism in a world of chaotic modernity.
“[W]hat he wants his music to express is ‘love for every note.’”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.