Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Editor's Note: NPR did a story on him a few months ago.  As I recall, they didn't make a big deal about his religious nature.  Hmmm....

It’s the perfect match: a major Orthodox cultural figure celebrated by a pre-eminent Orthodox institution. But the Arvo Pärt Project also opens up a more complicated issue: What does it mean to speak specifically about the religion of a composer whose music’s spirituality has been interpreted so broadly for so long?

“There’s this kind of universally accessible spirituality going on, and yet it evidently has some particular sources in the context that he locates his own prayer life,” said Peter Bouteneff, a professor of theology at the seminary. “It’s where he goes to church, it’s the texts that he reads, the ancient Greek fathers,” he added. “This is what feeds his soul, and therefore: Is there some connection between this universally perceived and universally accessible spirituality, and the particular foundations in Eastern Orthodoxy?”

It is a question that Mr. Pärt is not quite comfortable answering, though he will receive an honorary doctorate from the seminary. When asked about the religious content of his music, he responded: “I am actually writing music for myself, based on my own cognition. Because of that, it reflects values that are important to me.”

Read it all.

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