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Now, technically Pärt’s birthday was yesterday, but I suppose even if one is Estonian, as Arvo Pärt is, September 11 is a memorable day, if not in a good way. It’s not quite the Ides of March, but in recent history, I don’t know that another date is quite so notorious.
On the other hand, Pärt turned 87 yesterday, and he had many, many birthdays before the events of 11 September 2001 made the date notorious.
In any case, Arvo Pärt is a musical composer, and actually one of the most performed living composers out there right now. I may still never have heard of him except that he is also an Orthodox Christian, and just a couple of years before I became Orthodox, he released Kanon Pokajanen, which is a magnificent sacred work – and Orthodox. Therefore, it seems like when I was first becoming Orthodox, I heard about this all the time, and eventually, I purchased a copy.
I like Pärt’s music because he’s managed to be modern and to have his own style without being ugly, vulgar, or just plain weird. Unfortunately, Pärt uses a lot of silence to accentuate the instrumentation, and it’s a very powerful tool, but it’s hard for me, at this point in my life, to be able to sit back in a dark room with headphones and just take it all in. I hope that in the future, I’ll have more time for more deep listening of music.
However, as coincidence would have it, as I was looking through some of Part’s music yesterday, I found an arrangement of “Variations for the Healing of Arinuschka” by the incredibly talented musician Josh Turner (who usually plays pop) and I wanted to share it here:
Mr. Pärt, happy birthday, and may God grant you many years!