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Composers on the Coronavirus Crisis: Arvo Pärt

The consequences of the coronavirus crisis move us all. We have asked our composers how these months and weeks affect their artistic work. What they answer will be published progressively in this section as they appear.

Arvo Pärt

(The Estonian composer was born on September 11th 1935. Typical of his work is the reduction to melodically simple triad motifs, persistent repetition patterns, litany-like character of the lecture and archaic forms)
 
"What is happening in the world now imposes hardships on all of us, a kind of mega-fasting. The concept of fasting is familiar in all cultures, with all its consequences and effects. Renunciation affects everyone, whether we like it or not, including the world of art.
(...) Every serious situation mobilizes artists to approach the essential, and the consequences of this concentration will only become apparent over the long term. (...) This tiny corona virus has painfully shown us that we, humans, are a uniform, even a single organism, and that human existence is only possible in relation to other living beings. The term 'relationship' must be understood as a maxim, as the ability to love. But it is the highest claim and almost too high for a human being. 
The situation in which we find ourselves is paradoxical: on the one hand it means isolation, on the other it brings us closer to each other. In isolation we have to be able, even compelled, to value personal relationships highly again and to cultivate them in a small circle again. And we should learn all this before we expect or even demand love and justice from the whole world. (…)“
 
(Arvo Pärt, April 2020)
 
"Editor's note:
Arvo Pärt's comments were also published in the Spanish newspaper "ABC cultura". At our request, he released his statements in German for publication.

Photo of the composer: (c) Viviane Purdom

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