Listeners often speak of a certain mystery in the way that Arvo Pärt evokes spirituality through his music, but no one has taken a sustained, close look at how he achieves this. Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence examines the powerful interplay between Pärt’s music and the composer’s own deep roots in the Orthodox Christian faith—a relationship that has born much creative fruit and won the hearts of countless listeners across the globe.
About the Author: Peter Bouteneff, a professor of theology and a conservatory-trained musician, has been an ardent and attentive listener of Arvo Pärt’s music ever since he came to know the composer personally in 1990. He teaches systematic theology and spirituality at St Vladimir’s Seminary, where he also co-directs the Arvo Pärt Project.
This illuminating meditation on the pillars of Pärt’s music – word, silence, and bright sadness – gives voice to what many intuit in the music and is a game changer for Pärt scholarship. Unafraid to traverse the same boundaries of religion, spirituality, and popular culture as Pärt’s music, Bouteneff’s book is essential reading for those devoted to Pärt’s music and interested in the place of Orthodox Christianity in public life.
By parsing the connections between Pärt’s music and the Christian faith, Bouteneff demonstrates the central paradox of the Pärt phenomenon: that a musician so deeply rooted in the particulars of a rich Christian tradition can, precisely on that basis, create music that continues to appeal to listeners across religious and cultural lines. This book is a triumph.
Many of us have written about Pärt, but one thing was missing, the view from within the Orthodox Christian tradition that has guided Pärt's work since the 1970s. This has now been provided by Peter Bouteneff, writing with clarity, precision, and the graceful authority of one who knows what he is talking about.
A luminous engagement of music, philosophy, and belief.