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Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten

Karin Kallmaker Favorite Things 0 Comments

This masterpiece work by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt is my single favorite piece of music. While I am a big fan of Pärt’s choral works like De Profundis and Te Deum, and other orchestral work like Tabula Rasa and Fratres, this piece, one of his shortest orchestral works at about 6 minutes, stands out for me.

Cantus the perfect length for meditative reflection, and ends with a harmonic resonance that I hear simultaneously in my stomach and cranium. The “song” engenders a physical reaction combined with musical appreciation.

It is sad, elegiac, and spirals slowly into a final deep release. I’m a writer so I shouldn’t say things like “it’s hard to describe.” Frankly, though, it is. The skilled editors at Wikipedia have it all laid out, from the opening quiet bells to the long falling tension in search of a major chord closing of a song written in a minor key.

Here’s the thing about music, though. Have a listen. It will either catch you or not. It doesn’t have to. But if it does, I hope it brings you the same sense of balance and peace.

Headphones. Close your eyes. Wait for the opening dulcimer bells.

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