Anne Akiko Meyers, plays Arvo Pärt, 'Fratres' 1977

Edited: September 7, 2021, 1:29 AM · I heard this piece, played by A.K.M. on the 1742 Vieuxtemps Guarneri, "Del Gesu" and found the composition hauntingly interesting.
There are also some great close-ups of the famous, 16 million instrument.
Is anyone else intrigued?

Replies (21)

September 7, 2021, 4:01 AM · A beautiful video Jeff, thanks. 'Haunting' is a good adjective to describe it, and Arvo Pärt is a composer worth exploring. The piece exists in many other instrumentations/orchestrations. I don't know whether they are all Pärt's, or by other people.
September 7, 2021, 5:28 AM · One of my favorite pieces performed by one of my favorite players.

Can anyone tell me what strings she is using?

September 7, 2021, 6:20 AM · Surely not Tonica..? I can certainly tell that her top E harmonic sounds almost a semitone flat. Mine tends that way too.
September 7, 2021, 3:05 PM · I think she may be using Pirastro Passions.
September 7, 2021, 3:42 PM · Hmmm... maybe I'm in the wrong frame of mind, but I didn't much like that. Not at all meditative!
September 7, 2021, 4:59 PM · I don't have an umlaut key on my keyboard so I can't answer this question.
September 7, 2021, 5:08 PM · I am intrigued by the piece, but prefer this performance:
September 8, 2021, 10:15 AM · The strings look like Evah Golds on my monitor...not sure about the E, maybe a PI platinum? Whatever the strings, that violin sounds great...
September 8, 2021, 12:02 PM · Everything sounds great but the music bores me to death.
September 9, 2021, 7:17 AM · I'm with Cotton, I could never get into this piece. It might be okay with YouTube set to 2x speed. Like we used to do with our LPs, playing them on the "45" or "78" speed setting of our record players.
September 9, 2021, 10:30 AM · Here's a piece that is sort of meant to be inert, or as if it's kind of hanging there in time, but I think is very effective. It's a fun one to perform, at least.

September 9, 2021, 11:48 AM · I like Christian's phrase, 'hanging there in time'. It applies to almost all of Pärt's music that I know, and is certainly true of a lot of Messiaen. It's important for an audience to strike the same level of exalted stillness, or the music may seem simply to be stuck, going nowhere. Messiaen can ask an audience to sustain this for hours, for example, in 'Saint François d' Assise', which provoked the largest audience walk-out I have ever seen. The production was mounted in an indoor sports stadium: if my memory serves me right, only a hundred or so stayed till the end.
Edited: September 9, 2021, 12:50 PM · Totally agreed, Richard!

I imagine that some of these kinds of pieces really benefit not only from seeing in person, but experiencing them in a very particular setting, like a church, not only for the architecture and spiritual connotations, but for the acoustic resonance itself.

I've seen some fantastic movies that might be termed "slow cinema", if you want to get reductive, and they benefitted greatly from me coming in with a very particular mindset and seeing them in theaters. I saw a Chinese movie a few years back, An Elephant Sitting Still, that was 4 hours long; I found it to be a totally engrossing and rewarding experience. That might be a lot tougher to have watching it at home.

Although I've seen at least 2 (maybe 3) Mahler symphonies live, and they have all been pure torture of the highest order.

September 9, 2021, 3:34 PM · I'm more in tune with Cotton. Music that doesn't go anywhere (convey some sort of narrative, even one that can't be expressed in words) usually doesn't engage me. This, I think, is the essence of "holy minimalism". And I certainly couldn't sit still with that elephant.
September 9, 2021, 6:33 PM · If you think Fratres is boring, try Spiegel im Spiegel, also by Arvo Pärt. I have a recording of it - again by Anne Akiko Myers - and I liked it so much that I ordered the sheet music for it, programmed a synthesizer to play the piano accompaniment, and gave it a go. It was such a terrifying experience - completely exposing every flaw in tonality - that I put it away and never touched it again. But I still find it lovely to listen to.
September 10, 2021, 9:22 AM · I also like Spiegel im Spiegel much better. The translation into English is "Spigots within Spigots."
September 10, 2021, 9:58 AM · What a tone-deaf piece to write in a time where conserving water is of utmost importance. Shame!
September 10, 2021, 1:04 PM · I always thought Spiegel im Spiegel was mirror in a mirror, at least that is what the classical DJ's occasionally mentioned.
September 10, 2021, 1:19 PM · Spiegel im Spiegel is really the only piece of his I really like. I can listen to his other pieces but won't go out of my way to do so. I used Spiegel im Spiegel to practice different types vibrato - unsure Part would have approved :)
September 10, 2021, 4:26 PM · @Steve - To me, Fratres does have plenty of motion, albeit it is movement from chaos to stillness - compare the beginning and the ending.

I view the episodes in it as perhaps being different emotions in a monk's day, and the whole thing as being an embodiment of "In the beginning was the Word". Which ... is pretentious enough to put in a pretty pretentious programme note, but maybe it helps understand it ;)

September 10, 2021, 4:35 PM · "Word up!" - Cameo

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