Cantus In Memory Of Benjamin Britten

Arvo Pärt: Cantus In Memory Of Benjamin Britten



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for string orchestra and bell | 6'
world première: 07.04.1977, Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, cond. Eri Klas

In the past years we have had many losses in the world of music to mourn. Why did the date of Benjamin Britten’s death – 4 December 1976 – touch such a chord in me? During this time I was obviously at the point where I could recognize the magnitude of such a loss. Inexplicable feelings of guilt, more than that even, arose in me. I had just discovered Britten for myself. Just before his death I began to appreciate the unusual purity of his music – I had had the impression of the same kind of purity in the ballads of Guillaume de Machaut. And besides, for a long time I had wanted to meet Britten personally – and now it would not come to that.

Arvo Pärt

The autograph: