Arvo Pärt’s Credo: The Powers of Order and Chaos

Arvo Pärt’s Credo, written in 1968, is the music of revolution. It’s an expression of disintegration, collapse, and reawakening. It’s a piece in which the pristine, well established order of modernism’s 12-tone-row and the rational counterpoint of J.S. Bach, give way to a terrifying, chaotic, total breakdown. For a moment we hear raging noise…an anguished sound world unimaginable before the twentieth century. Scored for piano, orchestra and chorus (an instrumentation that mirrors Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Op. 80), Credo is …

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Kleinhans Music Hall Turns 75

  Today marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York. Home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kleinhans is considered one of the world’s most acoustically perfect concert halls. It’s also one of Buffalo’s most significant architectural landmarks. Located in a leafy residential neighborhood just north of the city’s downtown, it anchors majestic Symphony Circle, part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s extensive parkway system which runs throughout …

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The Promise of Living: Copland for Labor Day

The Promise of Living, the soaring finale of Aaron Copland’s 1954 opera, The Tender Land, seems vaguely appropriate for Labor Day. Its libretto by Horace Everett (a pseudonym for Erik Johns) evokes the dignity and meaningfulness of labor. Honest work, in this case cultivating the soil of the American heartland and reaping the blessings of a rich harvest, is part of a balanced and fulfilled life: The promise of living with hope and thanksgiving is …

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The Manipulative Power of TV News Music

From the ominous minor second “shark motive” in Jaws, to E.T.’s soaring “Flying Theme,” to the terror of Psycho’s blood-stained shower, music plays an obvious role in heightening the drama of our favorite movie scenes. Music has the unique capability to transcend the literal and transport us into the world of metaphor, a place where fundamental truths are most deeply and directly experienced. In some cases, music may be the most important dramatic ingredient. For example, video footage of …

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