Arvo Pärt

Submitted by admin on Mon, 09/26/2016 - 19:12

photo of Arvo PartQuotes

  • I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me.
  • Tintinnabulation is an area I sometimes wander into when I am searching for answers--in my life, my music, my work. In my dark hours, I have the certain feeling that everything outside this one thing has no meaning. The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity. What is it, this one thing, and how do I find my way to it? Traces of this perfect thing appear in many guises--and everything that is unimportant falls away.
  • A need to concentrate on each sound, so that every blade of grass would be as important as a flower.
  • I could compare my music to white light which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener.
  • Silence is the pause in me when I am near to God.
  • The human voice is the most perfect instrument of all.
  • I suppose secretly we love one another. It is very beautiful.


Arvo Pärt was born 11th September 1935 – he is an Estonian composer of classical and religious music. His music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. Pärt has been the most performed living composer in the world for 5 consecutive years.

Pärt is often identified as a minimalist and, more specifically, identified with a mystic or holy minimalism. He is considered a pioneer of the latter style, along with contemporaries Henryk Górecki and John Tavener. Although his fame initially rested on instrumental works such as Tabula Rasa and Spiegel im Spiegel, his choral works have also come to be widely appreciated.

Pärt describes some of his music as tintinnabuli—like the ringing of bells. Spiegel im Spiegel (1978) is a well-known example which has been used in many films. The music is characterised by simple harmonies, often single unadorned notes, or triads, which form the basis of Western harmony. These are reminiscent of ringing bells. Tintinnabuli works are rhythmically simple and do not change tempo. Another characteristic of Pärt's later works is that they are frequently settings for sacred texts, although he mostly chooses to set Latin words or the Church Slavonic used in Orthodox liturgy.