Arvo Part – Holy Minimalist

CoverThis month  Estonian composer Arvo Part celebrates his 75th birthday,a fact I came across inThe Guardian recently which prompted me to explore his music  – I am hooked!

According to allmusic guide, Arvo Part is considered one of the most important living composers of concert music and is known for creating an entirely new form of music. He discovered how to create profound music with the simplest of structures.

‘I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence comforts me.’ he famously said. One reviewer has called his work a “shimmering, forever changing tonal landscape”

He is deeply religious and a devout follower of the Eastern Orthodox religion, spiritual themes and serenity  are important themes in his sacred music which is also inspired and influenced by Gregorian  Chant.

Reception of his early work was subject to the political vagaries of the communist Soviet system, but in 1977 he developed a radical new style and wrote several works based on the concept of ‘tintinnabulation’  these are still known as his best, Fratres, Cantus for Benjamin Britten and Tabula Rasa

His work was not known in the west until the 1980s when he emigrated to Austria and then to West Berlin.

Since then he has travelled the world, created a vast body of work, gained several honorary music doctorates and his  overwhelmingly beautiful music has  featured in over 50 films.

Further information:

  • Search our catalogue for Arvo Part
  • Search for Arvo Part in Gale Biography in Context (access with your library card and PIN)