Haupz Blog

... still a totally disordered mix

Arvo Pärt

2022-10-01 — Michael Haupt

Back in 12th grade, our music teacher gave us an overview of several musical styles through the ages. To give one example of 20th century music, he played a piece by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. I was immediately hooked.

The music our teacher used was Pärt's St. John Passion, or rather its beginning. Hear for yourselves. Well, so that got me really interested, and off I went on some exploration.

I soon found that Pärt had written music in a rather progressive style at first, before he stopped composing for some time only to emerge with his typical personal style called "tintinnabuli". Before he fell silent for a while, he still finished his third symphony, which combines large orchestra (Bruckner style) with renaissance polyphonics. That already gave an indication of what was to come.

The new Pärt is highly meditative, contemplative even, and typically slow paced, using simple harmonics. It's "simple" or "minimal" music in the best possible sense: nothing can be taken away any more. Listening to it can be surprisingly challenging because it involves dealing with silence.

I recommend every single piece he's ever written. A wealth of them is available on the 'tubes.

Tags: music