Friday, October 08, 2010

Our music will come to an end one day

'In the Soviet Union once, I spoke with a monk and asked him how, as a composer, one can improve oneself. He answered me by saying that he knew of no solution. I told him that I also wrote prayers, and set prayers and the texts of psalms to music, and that perhaps this would be of help to me as a composer. To this he said, 'No, you are wrong. All the prayers have already been prepared. Now you have to prepare yourself.' I believe there's a truth in that. We must count on the fact that our music will come to an end one day. Perhaps there will come a moment, even for the greatest artist, when he will no longer want to or have to make art. And perhaps at that very moment we will value his creation even more - because in this instance he will have transcended his work' ~ Arvo Pärt
That quote, which transcends the boundaries of music and faith, comes from the 1984 booklet for ECM's pioneering release of Arvo Pärt's Tabula rasa. The header photo comes from the same booklet and shows Pärt with ECM founder Manfred Eicher. ECM have reissued the 1984 disc, which also includes Pärt's Fratres (played by Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarrett), Cantus and Fratres, to mark the composer's 75th birthday in September of this year. The CD comes in a special edition book which includes the documentation from the original disc, manuscript scores of Tabula rasa and Cantus, study stores of Fratres, Cantus and Tabula rasa and a new introductory note by Paul Griffiths. The special edition book is truly a work of art. But we must prepare ourselves, because our music will come to an end one day soon.

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