MAGNIFICENT MAGNIFICAT - Arvo Pärt

Practical information

Performed by

Mixed a capella choir (32 singers)

Length

1 hour 15 minutes without a break

Space – light – sound

church

Thematic period

Arvo Pärt bears witness to his faith. Can be performed at any time of year. Programme available from September 15, 2015.

Language

Latin - English - Spanish -  Church Slavonic - German

What?

In five different languages and five contrasting atmospheres Arvo Pärt pays homage to his faith, in the unique voice that has brought him millions of listeners.

As the whole cultural world must be aware, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt will be 80 years old in 2015. He is no longer writing new works, but does that matter, given what he has already given us? AQUARIUS is amongst those groups who regularly and with pleasure perform his music and we celebrate this master of composition with a new CD: 'Magnificent Magnificat”, and now present a concert. The title is inspired by the two important Magnificat compositions that are central to the programme.

Why?

Few composers of classical music have been so popular and frequently performed during their own lifetime as the Estonian-born Arvo Pärt, who will be eighty this year (2015). It is remarkable, to put it mildly, that so many have taken a composer like Arvo Pärt to their hearts in these times of wholesale secularization and religious crises; Arvo Pärt, a composer whose many works are almost all inspired by religion. It is not widely known that this composer started his career in experimental, contemporary music. However, it was not that kind of music that made him famous; it was what he began to compose following a personal and artistic crisis, from which he recovered only after a period of several years. He arose from this long period of silence like one reborn, with a new style that he christened 'tintinnabuli', or 'bell-like' style. It was a radical break with the past: his music became rhythmically simple and harmonious. Dissonance, something that had become the norm in experimental, contemporary music and had thereby lost its function, was used by Arvo Pärt so sparingly and in such a refined manner that it regained its spice. In its way, this music was just as radical as that from his initial experimental period. The difference was that his new works reached a huge audience. His religious inspiration drove him to write vocal music: accompanied and unaccompanied choral works. He would certainly not call himself a church composer. His music is not appropriate for liturgical use, even though a church acoustic is where it works best. This music is a refuge and a quest: it is food for the doubter and for the seeker, and for the 'new' believer who wants to embrace something that transcends the visible and material. Arvo Pärt does not preach; he lives in a solitary way and speaks rarely. Take it or leave it. Love it or hate it. It is a top-class tour de force where simplicity and finesse come together and result in gravity and profundity. That is why AQUARIUS sings the music of Arvo Pärt.

 

Program

Magnificat (Latin)                                        

The Deer’s Cry (English)                            

I am the true vine  (English)           

Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (German)       

Gebet nach den Kanon (Church Slavonic)          

Virgencita (Spanish)

Nunc dimittis (Latin)

Morning star (English)                

 

   
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