The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed in the works of Arvo Pärt

Tauri Tölpt

Arvo Pärt has composed music for very different texts belonging to the Christian tradition. Yet there is one text that has received more attention in his oeuvre than any other: the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The text, which Arvo Pärt has said to “sum it all up”, has found its way into Summa (1977), Missa syllabica (1977), Berliner Messe (1990/2002) and Orient & Occident (2000). However, before arriving at one of the most important documents of the Christian world, Pärt went through a long journey in which he received theological influences from both the East and the West, witnessing both unity and conflict. The main purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of an exciting theological journey that begins with the birth of the Creed and ends with its contact with Arvo Pärt. Although Pärt believes that we should mainly let each text speak for itself, in my presentation I will also try to understand the composer’s own attitude towards the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

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