2 Oct

"Bright Sadness" and Arvo Pärt

Category: Sound Thinking
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 10/02/03

For a brief but thoughtful and descriptive introduction to Arvo Pärt, see professor Dale Nelson's review of his music in the March 2002 issue of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity. The review, "The Bright Sadness of Arvo Pärt," begins with a list of Pärt's recordings and concludes with notes on the recordings. In the body of the text Nelson gives a short biography of the composer, compares his music to Bach's, and discusses the different terms listeners use to describe the qualities of the works. Many would say the music, which is "characterized by 'directness of feeling, transparency of form, austerity of mood, economy of gesture,'" has a "timelessness" about it, Nelson writes. But the other reality of which it is full is "bright sadness," which Nelson describes through a quote from Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann's Great Lent.

"The Bright Sadness of Arvo Pärt" is available on-line. [Posted October 2006, ALG]