Arvo Pärt: A work of art is a reflection of its creator

Arvo Pärt: A work of art is a reflection of its creator


norman lebrecht

February 19, 2021

A new film about the great Estonian, who is 85.

He doesn’t say much but each word is precious.

Watch here.



  • Gary Freer says:

    Is there a greater living composer?

  • John Borstlap says:

    Beautiful video, Pärt as a philosopher in terms of music.

    But he is an extremist, thinking that the skeleton is more important than the flesh. The references to Saint Augustine are telling: the church father who did not want to enjoy the aesthetics of song as not to be distracted from the meaning of the words – thinking they were different things, like thinking that the body has to be condemned because it merely distracts from the purity of the spirit.

    From this opposition, later-on intensified by French philosopher Descartes, stems the entire development of the scientific world view which gave us the vacuum cleaner, computer, washing machine and the atom bomb, plus conceptual art and sonic art. Meanwhile the Western soul withered away, drawing thousands to the East in search of their lost soul. Pärt is closer to the East than any Western composer, so that helps – and when British composer John Tavener began to empty himself, he became a self-made Easterner, including a conversion to Greek Orthodoxy.

    Pärts music is the absolute, extreme opposite of the noisy, empty world of the West (including its classical music world), the modern, quasi-efficient world with its materialism and vulgarity and debris everywhere. He withdrew from it and went into isolated silence, emptying himself from conscious rationalist thought, and there he found his inner voice and his music. He understood that music is not a product of the intellect but from layers much deeper, in the subconscious. Well, that is the opposite of almost all ‘new music’ of the last century, and of today. Pärt felt he had to go to the other extreme and follow the example of the holy men of the bible who escaped the world by settling in the desert. One is reminded of the saying in the bible: ‘Lord, how can I receive your wine? And the Lord answered: your beaker should be empty’. No doubt the Lord had especially in mind those seekers of truth whose cups overflowed with nonsense.

  • Shlomy says:

    Oh , c’mon his music is a total bore.

  • E says:

    This was interesting! Also interesting to hear the language!

  • Gustavo says:

    I also like the graphic novel about his life.

    Arvo goes Tintin(nabuli).–Joonas+Sildre

  • superbe says:

    I can’t understand how “musicians” think of him as a composer-it is music for background documentaries no more!