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The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is an extraordinarily reclusive yet successful musician. His 1978 piece Spiegel im Spiegel is among his most famous compositions.
The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is an extraordinarily reclusive yet successful musician. Worldwide, his music is among the most frequently performed of all contemporary composers – and yet he rarely, if ever, seeks any kind of limelight or recognition. In many ways, Pärt’s serene work for violin and piano Spiegel im Spiegel is a perfect musical reflection of the composer’s own character.
Pärt started out as a composer by embracing many of the popular avant-garde musical approaches of the day. His works weren’t particularly melodious in the traditional sense; instead, they were both complex and challenging. But in the late 1970s, Pärt completely abandoned this approach. Spiegel im Spiegel was one of his first musical demonstrations of his change of heart. From this point on, his music would be ‘Tinntinabular’ in style – a term coined by Pärt himself to describe his minimalist, meditative compositions.
Translated as ‘Mirror in the Mirror’, Spiegel im Spiegel is enduringly popular for the calm, still environment it inhabits, in a world that is so often much more noisy and frantic.