Posts tagged ‘Arvo Pärt’

September 23, 2012

2012-09-23 Notes from the Bench

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James Gerber, Music Associate

“Beatitudes” by Arvo Pärt

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) composes in a style that is characterized by simple austere harmonies that move slowly and repetitively over long pedal notes from the organ.  Each short phrase is followed by silence from the singers, sometimes with and sometimes without the pedal note.  This placid and regular rhythm becomes hypnotic, and is emphasized by the small amount of dynamic change throughout the piece.  This constant level is, in itself, a theological reference of the unchanging validity of the scripture.  The amen suddenly takes on a new and greater volume for its six chords with the organ, and then the organ takes off on its own for the remainder of the work, finally disappearing softly.

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