Thursday, January 28, 2010

Arvo Pärt: Cantus and Magnificat

Southern Lutheran Kantor recently did a post on Arvo Pärt. Dovetailing on his post, here is some more information on this unique composer.

Arvo Pärt was born in Estonia, and after emmigrating during the Communist regime, returned there around 2000. Arvo Pärt is still living, according to Wikipedia (and if you found it there, it must be true!).

Some of Pärt's music sounds like ringing bells, which he called "tinntinnabuli".  An example of this is his Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten. He uses the orchestral chimes throughout, but also has the other instruments playing a descending scale similar to Purcell's Bell Symphony.

On the religious side of things, here is a live performance of Pärt's Magnificat.

If you'd like to follow along with the music, here's one from King's College Choir.

Contemporaries of Arvo Pärt include Henryk Górecki and John Tavener.

Check out Southern Lutheran Kantor's Recommended Church Music Recordings List for more information on select works of Arvo Pärt.  You can catch snippets of these recordings on his original post.


  1. Pärt is easily my favourite living composer. His Spiegel im Spiegel and Nunc Dimittis still stop time for me.

  2. Thanks for your comment! To readers who are unfamiliar, you can catch these pieces on youtube.


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