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Arvo Pärt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue

 
Arvo Pärt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue

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(Arvo Pärt: 24 Prelüüdi ühele fuugale) Director: Dorian Supin, EST, 2002, Estonian-English-German-Russian version / Czech and English subtitles, 87 min

Estonian Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular and distinctive composers working today. This deeply faithful Orthodox creator has been on the world scene for 25 years and his music has been used in the films of Tom Tykwer and Gus Van Sant, among others. The documentary captures the composer in short segments, as if trying to trace the source of his genius. Pärt copies out a score, recalls his childhood, argues with his wife about whether tomatoes are eaten sweet or savoury. He comments on his trademark simple style, dubbed tintinnabuli, and on his turning-point composition, “Für Alina.” He rehearses with renowned musicians and young talent, confusing the latter with requests for autographs. ‘Too bad you can’t film that smell,’ he says to the cameraman at a market in Estonia. He quotes a street sweeper he once met: a composer should love every sound. ‘When they announce the time on the radio, it sometimes sounds like one’s whole life is behind it.’ He spent 13 years in exile before returning to Estonia in 1993. He accepts the gift of his supreme talent with mild wonder, responsibility, joy and melancholy.


 

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