Arvo Pärt

contemporary classical // tintinnabuli

Now this is a twisted analogy, but if you can imagine Rachmaninoff as producer for Kanye West’s hit singles, then the brains behind the minimal “Wait Wait (The Whisper Song)” would be Arvo Pärt. You see, back in 1972, the Estonian composer completed his seventh well-received musical work, but felt it didn’t speak his true voice so he entered into a four-year period of silence and reclusion. During that time he studied plainsong, Gregorian chant, and Renaissance polyphony. When he emerged, he termed the radically different style of his music as tintinnabuli – characterized by simple harmonies and single tonal triad. Many draw similarities to minimalistic composer Phillip Glass, but Pärt’s approach relies less on repetition; rather, it builds from the most primitive musical elements – the triad and one specific tonality.
Classical compositions braving their beautiful, gentle simplicity.

Arvo Pärt’s “Gloria” from Missa Syllabica
Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” from Fratres
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10 Responses to “Arvo Pärt”

  1. Paul Irish :

    Big thanks to Jeannie for introducing me to Part.

  2. Tea :

    So great you posted this, his music is amazing. Actually a couple of good friends just sent me one of his cd’s last month, with a lovely note saying ‘music for autumn…‘ it’s simply beautiful.

  3. Anne :

    Pärt’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” also accompanies one of the most heart-wrenching scenes from Wit.

    Nice selection.

  4. Paul Irish :

    Thanks Anne!
    The Arvo Part Information Archive actually hosts a page full of Part’s music’s appearances in film.

  5. Anonymous :

    Spiegel im Spiegel plays in the background of what I would consider the most emotional scene in “Dear Frankie” also.

  6. gaston :

    I’ve owned Tabula Rasa by him for the past 10 years. It’s an amazing experience listening to it every time.

  7. gray b. :

    yes. It’s simply beautiful.

  8. Anonymous :

    “Pärt’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” also accompanies one of the most heart-wrenching scenes from Wit.”

    THAT’S where I’ve heard this before. I’ve been sitting here wracking my brains.

  9. Xavier :


    I’ve been looking for this music “spiegel im spiegel” for a long time. Unfortunattely it doesn’t work. Is this problem temporarely ? Can anybody tell me where I can find “Spiegel im spiegel” on the internet and so where I can download it ?


    Nice site, I’m a Pärt-fan. His Magnificat is great.


  10. Melanie :

    I recently saw The Australian Ballet perform a piece called ‘After the Rain’ set to Part’s Tabula Rasa and Spiegel im Spiegel. The pas de deux to Spiegel im Spiegel was magnificent and I’m considering going to watch the ballet a second time just to see it again.