That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt | Chicago Reader

That Pärt Feeling: The Universe of Arvo Pärt

A conventional documentary would be insufficient for the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, a renowned genius whose reticent nature belies his incandescent compositions. Dutch producer-director Paul Hegeman finds the 84-year-old artist at the height of his craft. Pärt’s musical storytelling has been described as minimalist, neoclassical, spiritual, and ethereal, and Hegemen effectively allows it to speak for itself. Rather than ticking the boxes of Pärt's biography or talking to him at length about his process, Hegemen gives his audience plenty of opportunities to experience the feeling referenced in the doc’s title, through a wash of stirring communion that’s mainly conveyed in the film through Pärt's rehearsals with the Cello Octet Amsterdam and performances in glittering concert halls around the world. Other artists and collaborators, including musicians (Tõnu Kaljuste, Kara-Lis Coverdale), choreographers (Jirí Kylián), and filmmakers (Alain Gomis), muse on the power of Pärt’s work; but no words compare to the combination of hearing the notes and watching how they move through their orchestrator. In Dutch, German, and French with subtitles.

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