The Estonian got there first.
You should listen to some of his solo piano pieces. They are, I believe, rarely recorded but are delightful and not so challenging: An amateur can, with practise, play them to satisfaction.
But only after hearing Rossini’s solo piano pieces.
This is my personal favourite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsR_lH0IHu0
Rarely has a major scale been played with such beautiful and expressive qualities, the cellist is top – convincing us that a scale is actually a composition, an entirely new invention.
But sometimes Pärt goes too far in his search for the beauty of the simple, arriving at emptiness, as here. The beauty of the result in this video is entirely, but really entirely, the work of the performer, there is nothing in it of the composer. In his best works however (Fratres in the original scoring; Cantus; Tabula Rasa), he achieved a recovery of real music from the debris of modernism, and the key of this renewal was his reconnection with spirituality. The courage to do this at the time when modernism raged everywhere, was immense.
I thought the original Fratres (1977) was without fixed instrumentation.
I thought the original is for two solo violins, strings and prepared piano. In that version it works best, to my feeling.
Forgive me, all who take pleasure from this persistent drip. It may have its point as a remonstration against so-called modernism, ( ?? – modernism is difficult to define, but usually refers to music where the basic premises of western music are “betrayed” – melody, harmony, timbre and rhythm – but in the hands of inspired composers can join the highest level of musical communication. Now part of musical history ). The greatest remonstration was the emergence of minimalism, which certainly has made its point.
But I do not need this ponderous plodding. If you want a strong scale, go to the opening of JS Bach’s C major Cello Suite. And there are thousands of other examples. I am willing to compile a list if pressed, but would prefer to listen to creative composition.
Modernism in music (often entirely wrongly defined) is not part of music history. In contrary, it created a separate genre: sound art, with its own history. There is still much misunderstanding around that subject.
Listening to Pärt may inspire listeners to go back to Bach, and rightly so. But his reaction to modernism is of infinitely better quality than minimal music, which has just the right name.
In modernism, the highest level of communication can easily be achieved, but it has not much to do with music, as is regularly demonstrated in Darmstadt:
It’s not just relaxing, it’s somnambulant. My Lord his music is boring. He Glass without the arpeggios.
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