Happy birthday, Arvo Pärt

September 11, 2020

If my calculations are correct, today is the 85th birthday of my favourite living composer, Arvo Pärt. Here is the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir — the world’s pre-eminent interpreter of Pärt’s choral music — singing his setting of Salve regina:

I don’t think that this piece is one of his most successful, but it does have its charms. In the liturgy this hymn is sung at the end of the day, and Pärt gives his setting a lovely, gentle rocking motion, a little like a lullaby. Its repose is disturbed only in the phrase “show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus”, in which it rises rapturously to a climax before settling down again for the final three-fold invocation: O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. It’s a better piece than I’ve heretofore given it credit for.

Happy birthday, dear Arvo Pärt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: