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The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt


Part of Cambridge Companions to Music

Andrew Shenton, Immo Mihkelson, Jeffers Engelhardt, Leopold Brauneiss, Thomas Robinson, Marguerite Bostonia, Robert Sholl, Benjamin Skipp, Laura Dolp, Andreas Peer Kähler, Arvo Pärt
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  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107009899

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About the Authors
  • Arvo Pärt is one of the most influential and widely performed contemporary composers. Around 1976 he developed an innovative new compositional technique called 'tintinnabuli' (Latin for 'sounding bells'), which has had an extraordinary degree of success. It is frequently performed around the world, has been used in award-winning films, and pieces such as Für Alina and Spiegel im Siegel have become standard repertoire. This collection of essays, written by a distinguished international group of scholars and performers, is the essential guide to Arvo Pärt and his music. The book begins with a general introduction to Pärt's life and works, covering important biographical details and outlining his most significant compositions. Two chapters analyze the tintinnabuli style and are complemented by essays which discuss Pärt's creative process. The book also examines the spiritual aspect of Pärt's music and contextualizes him in the cultural milieu of the twenty-first century and in the marketplace.

    • Covers a wide range of subjects and approaches to Pärt and his music: biographical, analytical, contextual, cultural and historical, providing a complete and authoritative guide to the composer
    • Technical musical language and any theoretical concepts are clearly explained and contextualized
    • Includes original writing and quotations from Arvo Pärt which appear in English for the first time, enabling readers to engage directly with the composer and to form their own opinion of what he says
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A persuasive act of stimulation and provocation.' Classical Music

    '… substantial, with thoughtful and unobvious editorial decisions behind the book's make-up.' The Wire

    'Packed with valuable scholarship, The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt undoubtedly has a leading role to play in the future … the diversity of contributor backgrounds and the plurality of critical perspectives on offer only increase the importance of this welcome new volume.' Music and Letters

    '… furnishes a fascinating portrait of the composer as a 'cosmopolitan persona of global renown' …' Scott Ordway, MAKE Literary Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107009899
    • length: 274 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.64kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 3 tables 45 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the essential and phenomenal Arvo Pärt Andrew Shenton
    2. A narrow path to the truth: Arvo Pärt and the 1960s and 1970s in Soviet Estonia Immo Mihkelson
    3. Arvo Pärt after 1980 Jeffers Engelhardt
    4. Musical archetypes: the basic elements of the tintinnabuli style Leopold Brauneiss
    5. Analyzing Pärt Thomas Robinson
    6. Arvo Pärt: in his own words Andrew Shenton
    7. Bells as inspiration for tintinnabulation Marguerite Bostonia
    8. Arvo Pärt and spirituality Robert Sholl
    9. The minimalism of Arvo Pärt: an 'antidote' to modernism and multiplicity? Benjamin Skipp
    10. Arvo Pärt in the marketplace Laura Dolp
    Appendices: A. Radiating from silence: the works of Arvo Pärt seen through a musician's eyes Andreas Peer Kähler
    B. Greatly sensitive: Alfred Schnittke in Tallinn Arvo Pärt
    C. Remembering Heino Eller Arvo Pärt
    D. Acceptance speech for the International Bridge Prize of the city of Görlitz Arvo Pärt
    E. Acceptance speech given for the Léonie Sonning Music Prize 2008 Arvo Pärt
    Works list

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Commonwealth of the Arts: Enlightenment to Contemporary
    • Minimalism
  • Editor

    Andrew Shenton, Boston University
    Andrew Shenton is Associate Professor of Music at Boston University.


    Andrew Shenton, Immo Mihkelson, Jeffers Engelhardt, Leopold Brauneiss, Thomas Robinson, Marguerite Bostonia, Robert Sholl, Benjamin Skipp, Laura Dolp, Andreas Peer Kähler, Arvo Pärt

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