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A composer for complicated times

Andante Magazine – Daniel Felsenfeld – Arvo Pärt stands outside the 20th-century tradition of "new" music, fitting into none of the well-worn categories. He composes using no mathematical system. (That is, not since 1960, when he was thought mad in his native Estonia for writing a twelve-tone composition, even though Schoenberg had created the method some 37 years earlier.) He is not a neo-Romantic, nor does he employ the repetitive melodic cells and dense rhythmic layers of the Minimalists. Rather, Pärt has created a music that sounds at once ancient and modern; although he's often labeled a minimalist by virtue of his ability to make one note speak volumes, this composer might better be called a "neo-medievalist" (if one needs to label at all). Read more