In the course of our archival work, we have come to the groundbreaking year of 1968, when Arvo Pärt composed “Credo” for piano, mixed choir and large symphony orchestra. In terms of musical material, it was a work of the 1960s, combining elements of dodecaphony, sonorism, collage and aleatoricism. This is how musicologist Merike Vaitmaa
7 April marks the 45th anniversary of the premiere of "Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten", one of the most beloved and most performed works in Pärt’s oeuvre. The story written by Karin Rõngelep based on a discussion with the composer Arvo Pärt at the Arvo Pärt Centre.
In mid-April, when the exhibition halls and museums were closed, we talked to Arvo Pärt about what was happening in his creative life between 1963 and 1964. This discussion focused on the creative history of Symphony No. 1 and the choral composition "Solfeggio", both written in 1963.
60 years ago today, on 11 March 1961, Arvo Pärt’s Nekrolog for orchestra was performed for the first time in the Pillar Hall at the House of the Unions in Moscow, under the baton of Roman Matsov.
The tumultuous story of Nekrolog proves the extent to which the reception and fate of a composition depends on the time and the place the work was written, and the impact a work can have on a composer’s entire future oeuvre.
The Pärt family harmonium stood next to the door of the old archive building of the centre, where it quietly and shyly greeted everyone who entered. From time to time, Arvo Pärt or his son, the Chairman of the Council of the Centre Michael Pärt lifted the lid of the instrument, making the harmonium sing for the employees and visitors of the centre.
For years, the author Jaan Kaplinski carefully kept the Bible, printed in 1863, which had belonged to Arvo Pärt’s grandparents. Kaplinski had repeatedly mentioned returning it to the composer and now this has taken place. The Bible is especially valuable for Arvo Pärt, because the composer’s grandmother read it to him on Sundays in his childhood.
Snow is falling… – a manuscript score with such a title, suitable for this time of year, was presented to us by the Theatre and Music Museum whom we were glad to host yesterday at the centre. The piece is a German children’s song arranged by Arvo Pärt, which was found by museum scholar Ene Kuljus, while ordering Valter Ojakäär’s collection.
“It was 7 February 1976, a beautiful sunny winter’s day,” Nora Pärt recalls. There was brightness and inspiration in the air and Nora suggested they take a longer walk through the forest in Nõmme. However, Arvo Pärt was not getting up from his dark brown pianino anytime soon… They didn’t make it to the forest that day; however, the piano composition Für Alina was born. With this small piece the composer found his own voice and compositional style, which he named tintinnabuli.
In December, the archive of the Arvo Pärt Centre received a priceless addition when Maaja Rumessen, the widow of the pianist and musicologist Vardo Rumessen, gave a box full of valuable archive materials to the Arvo Pärt Centre. This box contains personal materials, notebooks, concert programmes and newspaper cuttings related to Arvo Pärt's work, dated up to 1980, when the composer was forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union.