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Monday, October 01, 2007

Arvo Pärt again

Arvo PärtSomewhere on the southern edge of the Midwest States lies an endless expanse of rolling desert shimmering in the heat haze, with nothing to see for miles all around and with the silence broken only by the sound of a car radio playing what seems to be the music of the spheres. Such calm and beautiful music might almost have been written for this desert landscape.
I was driving through the desert in Utah. Tabula Rasa was being played on the radio. Suddenly I sensed a connection between the music and the loneliness of the landscape. The music is somehow very religious and basic.

My music was always been written after I had long been silent in the most literal sense of the word. When I speak of silence, I mean the nothingness out of which God created the world. If you approach silence with love, music will result.

Fratres: a quickly played solo violin introduction – then the violin is starting its repetitive patterns on a rhythm kept by percussion. Bach’s Chaconne comes in mind. Then an interlude, violin sustained by string orchestra – the orchestra gives a large, generous background – the violin is played rapidly. Again Chaconne-like. Again violin and orchestra. Again percussion is signaling its presence. Again the orchestra, largely, generously, the violin is commenting it.

Tabula Rasa is a small concert for two violins, string orchestra and prepared piano. The prepared piano is giving a bell sound. The violins are sounding strangely, strange sound and strange score, seemingly in perpetual ascending. Actually one violin accompanies the other one that is trying an elegy. And actually there is a perfect balance between violins, orchestra and prepared piano. Eventually you realize that the main speaker is here the prepared piano: Tabula Rasa studies the fading of each sound from the piano; the violins and orchestra give the accompaniment and their accompanying score is ascending to the stars, only companions for the desert.

Symphony No. 3, performed by Göteborgs Symfoniker (conductor Neeme Järvi); the first part has some Middle Age flavor, you close your eyes and imagine a castle and a tournoi.

(Arvo Pärt)



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