Art, Music, & Film: June 2003 Archives

Arvo Pärt


I have only recently discovered the liturgical and religious music of Pärt and Penderecki. Pärt hails from Estonia, I believe, and even as I write I am listening to a wonderful, mysterious, and moving Magnificat. I read a short musicological sketch that suggested that Pärt experimented for a time with a twelve-tone system á la Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg. From this he developed a distinctive musical style that some have labelled minimalist and others (perhaps Pärt himself) have called the tintinnabuli style. He seems to limit himself to a very restricted range of notes and frequent repetitions. The end result sounds like something between Gregorian Chant and more elaborate Renaissance Polyphony. It isn't strict Chant because there are definite harmonies in the voices, and yet there is something about it, perhaps all voices together with no additional "background" lines against which lines are sung, that suggests Chant at times.

Anyway, if you have not encountered Pärt, I would heartily recommend him as some of the very finest sacred music of recent times. It is in many cases beautiful and mysterious beyond words. There is a blend of the serene and the exalted that transports the listener into another realm.

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The Matrix Reloaded


I had the opportunity to see The Matrix Reloaded this weekend. While I found it enormously entertaining and quite beautiful, I do wonder what all the buzz is about. I saw nothing particularly Christian in it, nor did I find long patches of dialogue about causality and free-will particularly compelling evidence of a Christian foundation. On the other hand, neither were there any evidences of a strongly antipathetic approach to religion and Christianity. So, for a film-goer looking for amusement, entertainment, and some beauty, the film was a marvel--the fight choreography stunningly beautiful at times, the plot a relentlessly messy tangle of picaresque chess-playing motions that seemed to have no real end in mind (not that that bothers me in the least).

No, that it is a beautiful film is probably undeniable. As to a meaningful film--not for me.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from June 2003.

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