Author Topic: Arvo Part (1935 - )  (Read 5124 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Arvo Part (1935 - )
« on: June 30, 2010, 06:52:31 PM »


Arvo Pärt has demonstrated a voracious musical curiosity and daring experimental spirit throughout his career that has allowed him to move beyond his secured place as Estonia's premiere composer to become perhaps the best-known choral and sacred music scorist of his time. Thirty years of musical experimentation with influences as wide-ranging as Russian neo-classicism, Western modernism, Schoenbergian dedecaphony, minimalism, polytonality, Gregorian chant, and collage have led him to the creation of a distinctively sparse technique he calls "tintinnabulation." This method, which takes its name from the Latin word for bells, places unusual emphasis on individual notes and makes extensive use of silence. "I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played, " says Pärt. "This one note ... or a moment of silence, comforts me.... I build with the most primitive materials -- with the triad, with one specific tonality. The three notes of a triad are like bells. And that is why I call it tintinnabulation." Pärt, a 1963 graduate of the Tallin Conservatory, began his career writing music for Estonian radio, television, film, and theater. His early work drew heavily from the music of the Soviet Union, where he took up residence in the early '60s. With 1960's Necrology, Pärt began to explore Schoenberg's 12-tone serial method. He continued with serialism throughout most of the '60s, but eventually grew weary of its rigidity and began to experiment with collage technique, incorporating elements of Bach and Tchaikovsky into his original compositions. This approach alienated purists, and his Credo of 1968 was banned in Estonia. Pärt then abandoned pastiche and entered a period of studious hibernation during which he examined medieval and Renaissance choral music. In 1976, he re-emerged from his self-imposed silence with a small piano composition, Fur Alina. The piece constituted a remarkable departure from his previous work, and introduced the "tintinnabulation" method that was to be the hallmark of subsequent compositions. The piece also marked the beginning of a very prolific period. 1977 saw the release of three of Pärt's most famous works: Fratres, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, and Tabula Rasa, for which he won the Estonian Music Prize. The western success of these pieces created friction between Pärt and the Soviet government, however, and in 1980, he moved to Vienna and became an Austrian citizen. A year later he moved to West Berlin, where he began to focus on choral settings of religious texts including St. John Passion (1982), Te Deum (1984-1986), Litany (1994), and Kanon Pokajanen (1998). These works reflected his growing interest in the metaphysical, as well as his appreciation of Gregorian chant and composers like Obrecht, Ockeghem, and Josquin. His western following continued to expand in the '90s, when his music attracted the attention of numerous American film producers, popular recording artists like Michael Stipe, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, to which he was elected in 1996.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
 
In my opinion, one of the most remarkable post-WWII composers. He obviously started off in a very avant-garde style of composition, but morphed into one of the most recognizable composers in recent history with a trademark style of compostion that has been emulated, but never duplicated.
 
What do you guys think of this composer? What are some of your favorites works? Any comments are welcomed.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:16:41 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline monafam

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 07:31:51 PM »
I am a big fan of Part.  While I was first introduced to him via more recent works, and generally prefer this style of his, I actually enjoy his earlier avant-garde pieces as well. 

I like most of what I have heard (I think Spiegel Im Spiegel was the first pieces I heard).

While I don't necessarily see similarities in their style, Part's development reminds be a lot of Penderecki or Gorecki (whom I also enjoy).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 07:40:21 PM »
I am a big fan of Part.  While I was first introduced to him via more recent works, and generally prefer this style of his, I actually enjoy his earlier avant-garde pieces as well. 

I like most of what I have heard (I think Spiegel Im Spiegel was the first pieces I heard).

While I don't necessarily see similarities in their style, Part's development reminds be a lot of Penderecki or Gorecki (whom I also enjoy).

One of the most remarkable works I've heard recently by Part was "Miserere," which is a hauntingly beautiful work for chorus and instrumental ensemble. My favorite Part composition above all of them is "Te Deum" written for chorus, string orchestra, and prepared piano. "Tabula Rasa," "Symphony No. 3," "Litany," "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten," and "Silouans Song." These works send my mind into a completely different orbit altogether.
 
I have to sometimes remember that Part is a very different kind of composer. Very different going from say Mahler to Bartok to Part. I think the most important thing is that people keep an open-mind about his music. I, at one time, hated his music, but as time went on and my mind became more open, I finally heard what so many people have been hearing for years.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline springrite

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 07:43:57 PM »
If one has only listened to the later Part (the choral works), one does not know Part. You'd have to listen to his earlier works before he began to look backward for inspiration, and took that forward.

This disc would be a good place to start, courtesy of our own Just Jeff:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002HMJRI?ie=UTF8&seller=A1WSTA0CCWCRFC&sn=20th%20Century%20Music
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Offline PaulR

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2010, 07:46:38 PM »
Part is one of my favorite composers, and probably my favorite living composer.  My first CD that I got of his music was lamentante for piano and orchestra and I absolutely loved it.  From there, I went on to get more of his stuff, and discovered how much I loved his music, even the ones that sound extremely simple to my ears (Spiegel im Spiegel ((Which just makes me very calm))

Perhaps my favorite piece by him though, is his Litany.  I love how he uses the chorus and the orchestra.

Of his older stuff, I really like the Pro et contra for cello and orchestra. 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 07:48:15 PM by Ring of Fire »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2010, 07:56:56 PM »
If one has only listened to the later Part (the choral works), one does not know Part.

Actually, I'm quite familiar with his early works and have many recordings that feature these earlier works (pre-tintinnabulation). One doesn't have to be aware of a composer's beginnings to enjoy the music. With this logic, one doesn't know Bruckner either if they've never heard his 0 and 00 symphonies or any of his choral works. No, I believe an understanding of a composer begins with what the listener hears and is intellectually/emotionally moved by.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2010, 08:01:00 PM »
Part is one of my favorite composers, and probably my favorite living composer.  My first CD that I got of his music was lamentante for piano and orchestra and I absolutely loved it.  From there, I went on to get more of his stuff, and discovered how much I loved his music, even the ones that sound extremely simple to my ears (Spiegel im Spiegel ((Which just makes me very calm))

Perhaps my favorite piece by him though, is his Litany.  I love how he uses the chorus and the orchestra.

Of his older stuff, I really like the Pro et contra for cello and orchestra.

Not to disagree with your wonderful commentary, I really disliked "Lamentante." I also really disliked this newer recording "In Principio." I enjoy his earlier tintinnabulation works much better. "Litany," by the way, is a splendid work. Very moving and really just sends me into a totally different headspace. You mentioned you love the way he uses chorus and orchestra and that's what I love about "Te Deum." The accompaniment from the string orchestra in this work is just so emotionally invigorating.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 08:03:51 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline springrite

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 08:01:23 PM »
Actually, I'm quite familiar with his early works and have many recordings that feature these earlier works (pre-tintinnabulation). One doesn't have to be aware of a composer's beginnings to enjoy the music. With this logic, one doesn't know Bruckner either if they've never heard his 0 and 00 symphonies or any of his choral works. No, I believe an understanding of a composer begins with what the listener hears and is intellectually/emotionally moved by.

No, I am not suggesting that you don't know these works, nor that one can not enjoy the later works without knowing the earlier ones. I am merely suggesting those who enjoy the later works (and rightfully so) that there is an earlier Part worth exploring. Please, do not read more into my post that I actually wrote.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2010, 08:07:02 PM »
No, I am not suggesting that you don't know these works, nor that one can not enjoy the later works without knowing the earlier ones. I am merely suggesting those who enjoy the later works (and rightfully so) that there is an earlier Part worth exploring. Please, do not read more into my post that I actually wrote.

Oh okay sorry about that. I wasn't sure what you were implying. Anyway, I hate early Part.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline springrite

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2010, 08:08:00 PM »
Oh okay sorry about that. I wasn't sure what you were implying. Anyway, I hate early Part.

I hate those works, too!  ;D
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Offline Luke

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2010, 08:08:27 PM »
FWIW there is already a Part thread here - here, in fact! It has some good stuff on it. Thread merge time, perhaps?

Offline cosmicj

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 04:25:55 AM »
Don't want to disrespect the thread merge but did want to add that Tabula rasa is one of my favorite works.  All the composers in my grad program (of course, all writers of atonal music) detested Part - this was more than 15 years ago.  I thought his work was beautiful.  The Cantus canon was the first work of his that I encountered and I found it striking from the outset.

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2010, 06:24:13 PM »
Earlier in the year, I saw Part's Berliner Messe done live. It was amazing to hear the large choir and the bell-like colours of the organ echo throughout the church. I'm gearing up to see Tabula Rasa done live later on in the year. His music is full of such amazing sounds, that you only get 10% of the experience when listening to a recording, you really have to see it live to fully appreciate it. It is so delicate and subtle. I missed the local premiere of his latest (4th) symphony earlier in the year, but we do get many of his works performed regularly here in Sydney, so I'll catch up, no doubt.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 06:27:50 PM by Sid »

Offline Cato

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2014, 09:11:01 AM »
From today's (May 14th) Wall Street Journal:

Quote
In the next few weeks, "The Arvo Pärt Project"—the inspiration of Peter Bouteneff and Nicholas Reeves, faculty members at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers—will bring the composer to Washington and New York. Tõnu Kaljuste, whose recording of Mr. Pärt's "Adam's Lament" won this year's Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, will conduct the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra in works by Mr. Pärt, offering separate programs at the Kennedy Center on May 27 and at the Phillips Collection on May 29. The ensembles will then appear at Carnegie Hall on May 31. And on June 2, the choir will perform the composer's intricate "Kanon Pokajanen" (1997), based on the Orthodox canon of repentance, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur.

All of these works reflect the blossoming of a style Mr. Pärt developed after a long compositional pause in the 1970s, during which he rejected his earlier use of contemporary approaches, including 12-tone techniques, and instead embarked on the study of early music, especially Gregorian chant. At the time, he had been criticized by the Soviet authorities for his modernism. But Mr. Pärt, age 78, told me by phone from Estonia that it would be a misinterpretation to attribute the decision to reassess his craft to these political pressures. "The change in my compositional style," he said, "grew out of a seed I felt within."




See:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304536104579558173580370330?mg=reno64-wsj

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Offline Brian

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2014, 04:00:28 PM »
BIS CEO Robert von Bahr on the difficulties of recording "Cantus":

"Do I remember the recording of Pärt's Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, whose music forms the bulk of this CD. I told the orchestra time and again that they had to sit ABSOLUTELY still for at least a minute after the last chord, for the bell sound to slowly fade out and disappear, and then we had an excellent take, They sat without moving for 30 seconds, and then a chair cracked, before the bell had died. Big discussion, but in those days one simply couldn't edit inaudibly in the sound of a tubular bell, so they had to take it again, and again. Finally the orchestra really did sit still (as a small revenge I kept them for an extra 15 seconds) and the result is superb. As is the music by Britten, with Truls Mørk playing the Cello Symphony, again in Bergen under Neeme Järvi."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2014, 04:29:47 AM »
I feel his pain.  Every two or three weeks, I have to teach the choir again to be careful about turning their pages when the music is quiet.
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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2015, 10:20:48 AM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/af1dmI02bE8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/af1dmI02bE8</a>

The dramatic 25-minute “In principio” for mixed choir and large orchestra sets the famous opening of the gospel of St. John, “In principio erat Verbum”. In its five movements, “tintinnabuli”-diatonicism is contrasted with sophisticated harmonic procedures, massive brass chords are juxtaposed with almost stoic calm in the choir.

With most of Pärt’s more recent works, the score (2003) was written in response to a major commission.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2015, 01:09:21 PM »
Bought this book recently....





....but have not read it yet.
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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2015, 01:47:32 PM »
I am an admirer. I like the Cantus in Memory of Britten and much else besides.
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Offline NJ Joe

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Re: Arvo Part (1935 - )
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2015, 03:45:33 PM »
I was introduced to the music of Part when I heard the piece Fratres in the movie There Will Be Blood.  I waited with baited breath while the end credits rolled to see the name of the piece and the composer.  I immediately purchased a disc with Fratres, Cantus In Memory of Benjamin Britten, and Tabula Rasa, which I enjoy a lot.  To date it's the only disc I own, but I'm definitely interested in further exploration.
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