Arvo Pärt in the spotlight

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Arvo Pärt (c) Universal Edition

Dear Friends of the MusikSalon,

Several years ago Frédéric Mitterrand, who was French Culture Minister at the time, endeavoured to use the words of Baudelaire to describe what he experiences when he hears the music of Arvo Pärt and therefore bows to the commandment of tranquillity while freeing himself from temporal dimensions. He hears Pärt’s music and suddenly has “more memories than if he were a thousand years old”.

Yet it is only his 80th birthday that Arvo Pärt celebrates on 11 September 2015. The spotlight therefore returns to Pärt himself as a person, alongside the limelight already experienced by his music for many years – or, as expressed by Mitterrand, “it seems as if it were centuries”.

As a composer, Pärt no longer needs any introduction here. His works are already part of international concert life. The MusikSalon is paying tribute to this composer as possibly befits his nature: with an interest in how his music is received by active musicians and audiences alike, yet still remaining at a suitable distance from the bustle of today’s music industry despite him being at the centre of attention as a person.

An essay by the music journalist Michael Stallknecht describes Pärt as an “antiromanticist”.

Important associates of Arvo Pärt talk about their experiences with him and his music: record producer Manfred Eicher; conductors Tõnu Kaljuste and Paul Hillier, and also countertenor David James.

To mark his 80th birthday, we have worked together with the Arvo Pärt Centre to complete an unusual editorial project that in a certain way traces a musical arc across his oeuvre: his Songs from Childhood.

We have also been able to talk with film director Dorian Supin in an interview for the MusikSalon about his newly completed documentary, titled “Even if I lose everything”.

Eric Marinitsch
Universal Edition