Arvo Part, PART: Fratres / Festina Lente / Summa

Todd Burns

By Todd Burns

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Some of the simplest and most spiritually affecting music you’ll ever come across.

“‘Philosophy'? He has none,” Nora Part once told a Spike Magazine interviewer. “He learns everything from the old Church Fathers.” Arvo Part's wife just might be right, as his music seems to be some of the simplest — and most spiritually affecting — you'll ever come across. It's no wonder that filmmakers often use his compositions in their work to further their emotional ends ("Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten," included here, has been in no less than eight films). Sure, there may be a niggling voice in your head that screams about the cloying aspects of his stirring and epic compositions. But when isolated from its context as a way to evoke solemnity during the opening moments of Fahrenheit 9/11, I think you'll agree with Steve Reich, who points out that "[Part's] music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion."