Cantus In Memory of Benjamin Britten

Arvo Pärt: "I'm going to need a much bigger bell!"

We downloaded this from iTunes today. Agent Triple P attended the UK premier of the piece at the Proms in 1979 and Arvo Pärt was present to take a standing ovation. Agent Triple P does not like modern classical music on the whole and was expecting to detest the piece. However, he has since developed a soft spot for minimalism. We remember this music striking a chord (A minor, naturally) immediately, but for some reason we never purchased a recording of it. Playing it again we wonder why; as it is as magnificent as we remember it from nearly 30 years ago.

Perhaps it is because we find it reminiscent of the opening of Richard Strauss' Alpine Symphony but taking seven minutes to do what Strauss does in half a minute.

Most modern music premiering at the Proms disappears without trace but Estonian Pärt's piece has been very popular, being used in a number of widely seen films including Fahrenheit 9/11 and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf.

It is a classic example of a piece that tests volume control on a hifi, however, with the string orchestra starting pianississimo and ending fortississimo.
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