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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Arvo Part

"I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me." - Arvo Part

Estonian composer Arvo Part (pronounced Pairt) recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Part is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church and his birthday was marked by congratulatory letters from Patriarch Alexei II and Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk.

Part has written many works over several decades. Several of these works are written in what the composer describes as his "tintinnabuli" style. This compositional style gives rise to extremely moving and powerful pieces which are immensely popular.

Some of my favorite Part compositions are: "De Profundis", "Fratres", "Te Deum", "Miserere", "Triodion", and "Kanon Pokajanen".

"Kanon Pokajanen" or the "Canon of Repentance" is an a cappella setting for mixed choir, singing in Church Slavonic, of the Canon that is found in most Russian Orthodox Prayer Books. I believe this Canon was written by St. Andrew of Crete who also wrote the "Great Canon" which is read during Great Lent.

I believe this work is Part's masterpiece. I start every Lent by listening to this piece over and over. It is an incredibly spiritual work. I had the privilege of hearing this piece performed in concert by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir in Houston as part of a Da Camera program. This was one of the greatest concerts I have ever heard. It would probably have been the greatest concert I have ever heard had it been held in a more acoustically friendly venue for a cappella choral music than the Cullen Theater at the Wortham.


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