Composer Arvo Pärt

Composer Arvo Pärt

I typically mark Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.) by playing Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, a dramatic, secular meditation on memory, war and loss. Here, however, I’d like to draw attention to another related musical meditation.

Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1977), by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, is a reflective homage, a remembrance of the composer of the War Requiem. It simply doesn’t get more inward looking, more striking, than this. Pärt summons a musical language from an age we don’t know but which is paradoxically our own.

“The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”

(The old Lie; How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country.) – Wilfred Owen, 1918

Shantih    shantih    shantih