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Feb 24

55. Arvo Part [365 Composers for 2013]

24th February – Arvo Part

 

Part (born 11th September 1935) is our composer for 24th February, to mark Independence Day in Estonia.
Nationality: Estonian
Lifespan: Still alive
Genre: 20th Century
Education: Tallinn Conservatory
Fame Ranking: 2

Arvo Part is probably Estonia’s most famous classical composer. He showed his talent early, and received his musical education first at a local music school and later at Estonia’s best music conservatory in the capital, Tallinn. Just a few years after Part’s birth, Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union and remained under its rule until 1991. During this time, access to Western music was severely restricted, and Part could only broaden his musical horizons by procuring illegal cassette tapes and musical scores to study.

In his earliest compositions, Part was interested in atonal music and the avant-garde techniques popularized by Schoenberg. However, this type of music was scorned by the Soviet regime, who believed that music should be composed “for the people” and should be jolly, nationalistic and tuneful. Part was heavily criticized and he reacted by withdrawing from composition almost entirely, rather devoting his time to contemplative listening. He was particularly keen on Gregorian chants and choral music from the 14th – 16th centuries.

When Part began to compose again, he had assimilated this study of ancient music and changed his own style radically. Part invented his own composition technique, which is called “tintinnabuli”, meaning “bell-like”. This is a slow, meditative minimalist approach to composition, which has proved to be hugely popular, gaining Part worldwide recognition.

Here is Part’s “Magnificat”:

 

 

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Listen to more works by Part – click the box!

 

 

 

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