Arvo Pärt’s “Summa”: Renaud Capuçon and Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne

In 1994, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935) said, I have developed a highly formalised compositional system, which I have been using to write my music for twenty years. Summa is the most strict and enigmatic work in this series. Beginning in the 1970s, Pärt’s music represented a radical departure from the atonal modernism that was prolific during much of the twentieth century. Instead, what emerged was music which was simultaneously …

Read more

Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor: An Escape to a Better World

Maurice Ravel composed his Piano Trio in the spring and summer of 1914 as Europe descended into the First World War. Swept up in the fervor of the moment, Ravel rushed to complete the work in order to enlist, “working with the sureness and lucidity of a madman,” as he wrote to a friend. In a letter to Igor Stravinsky, Ravel wrote, “The idea that I should be leaving at once made …

Read more

Debussy’s Violin Sonata: An Autumnal Farewell

The Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor was Claude Debussy’s last completed composition. It was written in 1917 at a time when the composer suffered from terminal cancer. Europe was plunged into the bleakness and devastation of the First World War, bringing food and coal shortages and economic hardship to Paris. Exhausted and watching the prewar world he had known slip away, Debussy wrote to a friend, I only wrote this …

Read more

Send this to a friend