Friday, October 4, 2013

"Arvo Pärt in Conversation"

 From All Manner of Thing, a discussion of a new book about the composer.  Here's an interesting quote-within-a-quote, on the topic of spiritual struggle and metanoia:
[Pärt] makes it clear that the quest for a musical voice was not only a musical challenge: it was deeply personal and spiritual as well. He was dismayed by the manner in which musical composition in the mid-twentieth century was politicized: the use of western-style methods was considered “capitalist” by the Soviet authorities, and that same music was often considered “anti-capitalist” by western commentators. Part grew tired of this conflict, and his remarks are worth quoting at length:
“Do you want to know why I distanced myself from this music? It did it because for me by this time these conflicts had lost their power, and with it their meaning. One might say that I had come to terms with myself and with God — and in so doing, all personal demands on the world had receded into the background…

I have come to recognize that it is not my duty to struggle with the world, nor to condemn this or that, but first and foremost to know myself, since every conflict begins within ourselves. This does not mean that I am indifferent, but if someone wants to change the world then he must begin with himself. I am absolutely convinced of this. If one does not begin with oneself, every step towards the world will be nothing but a big lie and at the same time an attack, and this hidden aggressiveness tends to go on spreading. How to do this is quite a different story, but if one starts off with this idea, everything else appears in a new light.”

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