Arvo Pärt (Anglais) Broché – 14 novembre 1996
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
The first English-language book devoted to Pärt ... Hillier is especially qualified to speak on Pärt's work ... the book also provides an apt amount of biographical scene setting. (Billboard, 5 July 1997)
a detailed work-by-work study by a leading expert who knows the composer, fleshed out with biographical details and useful appendices; there are copious music examples ... a highly detailed text which veers between analytical charts and more straightforward descriptive writing (Gramophone, September 1997)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
The book is divided into very neat chapters, giving a thorough and systematic break-down of Part's musical career- from his neo-classical student works to his early experiments with serialism (he was the first Estonian composer to write serial music); his period of silence when he sought a new, simpler means of self-expression; and finally his discovery of the "tintinnabuli" style. Paul Hillier's first encounter with Part was through performing his tintinnabuli works, thus the book focusses mostly on them. Performers and critics have often complained that the music is too simple; Hillier reveals that there is more to it than meets the eye, and in particular his descriptions of the large-scale cantatas such as "Passio" and "Miserere" make for solid reading. Impressively, Hillier does not neglect the earlier serial works such as "Nekrolog" and the controversial "Credo" - music that sounds almost like that of another composer. Perhaps disappointingly, he opts not to go into Part's biographical details beyond a basic account of his childhood musical experiences and the problems he faced for many years in his Soviet-annexed homeland. He does however explore Russian Orthodox views on music and minimalism, an understanding of which is helpful in developing an understanding of Part's music. Finally, he offers his ideas on performing it: an extremely well-written and useful chapter, as is the appendix which lists the key recordings of most of the tintinnabuli and some of the serial works.
It takes some getting into: Hillier reveals himself to be a fine musicologist and makes some very detailed analyses, but many of the terms he uses can be baffling to the casual reader. Music students are thus the likeliest customers to benefit from the purchase of this book. As a music student myself, I find this book 'un-put-downable'!
Hillier's explanations of the pieces are so thorough that one can literally read along with the book while listening to the corresponding piece of music and never get lost. Hillier has done a splendid job with the writing because it is quite technical and will certainly give musicians and other composers insight into Part's structural ideas. The crowning achievement though is that the book can also be read (with only slight difficulty) by those that have no musical training. I can't read music or play any instruments, and I seldom felt lost while reading, despite the technical terminology (one can pick up a lot from context.)
The only problem with the book is that it was published in 1997, so it doesn't have commentary on his newest works like "Kanon Pokjanen." That one flaw, however, is tiny and can be easily overlooked in light of it valuble insight into the world and music of Arvo Part.
This study contains no real biography, but is organized as a chronological exploration of Part's work. The works of the 1960s, first with a dedication to serialism and then making heavy use of collage, are rather hastily covered in a single chapter; clearly Hillier is most concerned with tintinnabuli. The technique in general has a chapter to itself, and then each of the works is analysed. Quotations from the score abound, and knowledge of music theory is necessary. The most extensive coverage is that of "Passio", essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand the work. As a sort of appendix, Hillier includes some advice for musicians who would perform Part's music.
I've generally been unhappy with Part's "holy minimalism", as much of his oeuvre contains no clear theology and lets the listener find whatever he wants in it. He has been most successful when he put his services to the work of the Orthodox Church as in "Litany" and "Kanon Pokajanen" where there is no room for differing opinion. Hillier's study, however did help me better appreciate certain tintinnabuli works. The "Passio", for instance, is now revealed as a work of ingenious design and subtlety, but I still think "Fur Alina" is some kind of practical joke, and I still can't find much good to say about the "Berliner Messe"
My biggest complaint about the work, however, is that Hillier is extremely uncritical towards Part's music, taking turns towards the hagiographical and assuming that if it came from Part it must be good. He often dismisses more substantial methods of composition, such as serialism, insinuating that no one could enjoy them. As one who enjoys the serialism of Boulez, the zahlenmystik of Gubaidulina, the massive harmonies of Lindberg, and the mathematical precision of Xenakis much more than the entertaining-but-usually-wispy music of Part, I find it offensive that Hillier tries to say what his readers should or shouldn't like. Also, I regret that the book came too early to cover the massive "Kanon Pokajanen", which I think will go down as the composer's masterwork and a lasting contribution to Orthodox hymnography, but Hillier does briefly mention the prototypical sketches that Part had already begun to write for that work.
If you enjoy the music of Part, especially the "Passio", Hillier's study is worth picking up for, in spite of its clear bias, it is a useful musicological analysis.
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