Papers/Abstracts

The following papers were presented at the conference (listed alphabetically by author).

Spiegel im Spiegel: a musical mirror for the cinematic image — Michael Baumgartner (Independent Scholar, Boston, MA)

It is well known that Arvo Pärt composed original music for roughly forty films. It is, however, less known that Pärt’s concert music has been used repeatedly in a large number of films. In particular, the composition Spiegel im Spiegel (1978) appears in no less than twelve films. The recording, which has been incorporated in most of these films, stems from the 1995 ECM album “Alina.” Even though three different versions of Spiegel im Spiegel are featured on “Alina” only one has been integrated into the films — the duo for violoncello and piano. This fact raises the question of why film directors have been so fascinated by this specific recording. It appears as if it is less the composition fixated on paper that sparks this strong appeal for the filmmakers than its specific interpretation on the ECM recording. Were the two performers, Dietmar Schwalke and Alexander Malter, able to evoke the very prism, which — according to Pärt — is the “spirit of the listener”? If this is the case and the music is just “white light,” as Pärt states, isn’t this prism, which “divides the colours and makes them appear,” instead the interrelationship that happens between Spiegel im Spiegel and the cinematic image? This question, how Pärt’s composition and the image correlate and form a new “text,” is the central argument of this paper. A detailed analysis of arguably the most successful marriage between Spiegel im Spiegel with the image in Jean-Luc Godard’s short film “Dans le noir du temps” (2002) will shed light on how music and cinema can form a nearly perfect symbiosis.

Reimagining the Divine in Two Choral Works by Arvo Pärt — Gene Biringer (Lawrence University, WI)

A curious feature of Pärt’s text setting in tintinnabuli vocal works is the frequent emphasis on weak or unimportant words and the absence of emphasis on seemingly significant ones.  In most cases, these features can be explained easily enough by deciphering the rhythmic and textural algorithms at work in the piece, but of course such explanations do not tell us much about the expressive effect and possible meanings of such a striking inversion of text-setting convention.  In general, Pärt uses the effect to diffuse a sense of forward motion in this music by dissociating the natural accents of the text from musical dimensions conventionally used to reinforce them. The resulting unpredictability contributes to the floating, spacious quality of this music. Even so, the effect is sometimes so conspicuous that it invites a more hermeneutic analysis.

This paper investigates two closely related choral works, Part’s settings of Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (1988,1991) and the Magnficat (1989) itself, in an effort to show how Pärt’s distinctive text setting, in conjunction with corresponding features in the pitch domain, invite a reading of these works as evocations of a divinity whose attributes are both masculine and feminine.  In the Magnificat, the Virgin Mary’s canticle of praise and thanksgiving upon experiencing a vision of the divine conception, Pärt carefully sets up a simple dualistic structure that subsequently disintegrates – much like a flock of birds breaking formation – before being reassembled in a way that reverses the previous polarity, so that Pärt’s setting of “qui potens est” ([he] who is mighty) is conspicuously understated.  This crucial reversal opens the way for previously understated tones (notably D-flat) and chords (D-flat major) to emerge and co-exist in a way that evokes an alchemical merging of opposing forces – as happens in the text itself, in which God’s power and omnipotence are seen through the lens of the Mary’s humility.

In the Roman liturgy, the seven Magnificat antiphons are sung at Vespers during the week prior to the Nativity, at which time they are paired with the Magnificat. These texts invoke a variety of aspects of God as described principally by the prophet Elijah, while their ordering evokes a process of divine manifestation from the first and most abstract principle (Sapientia, or Wisdom – invariably depicted as a feminine aspect of God) to the Son of God himself (Emmanuel, meaning God is with us).  As in the canticle, unconventional text-setting procedures give rise to puzzlingly understated moments unless one understands the understatement itself as the breaking down of worn-out distinctions and the growth of a new complementarity between formerly opposing musical – and spiritual – forces.

Russian Bells: A Liturgical Inspiration for Tintinnabuli — Marguerite Bostonia (West Virginia Wesleyan College, WV)

The purpose of this presentation is to explore the implication that the bells that influenced Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabuli style were specifically Russian liturgical bells, known as zvon. Since there is an historical affinity for bell patterns and bell timbre among many Russian composers, a fundamental understanding of the liturgical importance of bells is valuable. Pärt’s overt acknowledgement of the inspiration of bells could derive from the fact that the city of Tallinn, Estonia housed one of only five pre-revolutionary zvon to survive widespread Soviet destruction.      The natural composite sonority of a bell is analogous to the evocative T-voice of tintinnabuli. Acoustical charts and tables will illustrate the distinct nature of the harmonic series of an existing Russian bell as compared to that of a vibrating string. Pärt, a professional composer and radio recording engineer has combined his acoustical expertise and compositional artistry with the liturgical symbolism of Russian bells – “singing icons” – to generate new compositional approaches.

While writings about the composer often include descriptions of bell ringing, these tend to be about English change-ringing or of small peals. It will be illustrated that the zvon of Pärt’s homeland environment frequently contains more bells than a European peal, with broader scope ranging from the largest bells in the world to those smaller than English peals, and capable of more varied rhythms. A review of national ringing styles shows that the untuned zvon, with its distinct rhythmic style, shares great semblance with tintinnabuli’s stasis and texture.

Lamentate: Richness out of restriction, hope out of lament — Leo Brauneiss (University of Vienna, Austria)

Lamentate is one of Pärt’s major works of the latest stylistic period of Tintinnabuli style. It is a work of synthesis, using different methods of “translating” the words and sentences of a given text in Church Slavonic in musical structures and linking these sections with passages of rising and falling scales. Thus Lamentate might be understood as a kind of compendium of the compositions techniques of Tintinnabuli style, further developed and combined to form a large scale musical architecture in accordance with the form and meanings of the text. Furthermore Lamentate has also some new characteristics: First a melody derived from a certain passage of the text is presented three times, once played by pairs of trumpets and trombones, the second time scored for winds and the third time for strings, thus presenting the same musical line not only in different colours and different musical textures; the mood is changing too and thus different aspects of the text are stressed.

Important to mention is secondly the important role of quotations, which are well known from Pärts former collage works, but are not to be found in other Tintinnabuli works. After starting like a piece of chamber music Lamentate bursts into a fierce tutti, based upon a melody of Gregorian Chant, the well known sequentia Dies irae. Approximately in the middle of the work a long lasting quotation from Pärts own work Sarah was 90 years old dating from 1977, restraining the music again to a dialogue of 2 voices: Lamentate is also a kind of personal retrospective, overlooking the way from the very beginnings to the rich and various means of composing Pärt has developed since then. Thirdly in Lamentate Pärt makes use not only of diatonic scales and triads, but also of the chord of the diminished seventh and the scales, running in parallel tritones – thus implementing chromatic elements, both restrained however by the centripetal force of a tonic triad. This tonic triad,  characterized by Pärt once as forgiveness of sins, turns out to be stronger than the centrifugal tendencies in melody and harmony. Comparable to that the lamentation about sins and failures is the precondition for the forgiveness by grace: This is the main topic of the Tintinnabuli style in general and Lamentate in particular.

Pärt’s evolving tintinnabuli style — Michael Chikinda (Queens University, Ontario, Canada)

When studying the oeuvre of a composer, one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks is to distinguish any definitive shifts in the writing style.  In some instances, the shift is both clear-cut and dramatic, such as Igor Stravinsky’s adoption of the twelve-tone method after the death of Arnold Schoenberg.  Arvo Pärt’s compositional style experienced a similar rupture after the completion of Credo in 1968 when, contrary to Stravinsky, he abandoned the twelve-tone method in order to find a means of expression in keeping with his spiritual beliefs.1  In other instances, the shift is more subtle, and the nuances seem to elude perception.  Such is the case in Pärt’s modification of the tintinnabuli style in the early 1990’s.  Specifically, I will examine And One of the Pharisees (1992) and The Beatitudes (1990/91).

I argue that the roles of the M and T voices have become conflated, which problematises the theological grounding of these two parts:  the former representing a subjective, “I” orientation associated with sin and the later representing an objective “non-I” world of forgiveness.  As a result a process that was formerly transparent becomes more complicated reflecting the conflicted nature of the earth-bound man trying to come to terms with the mysteries of redemption.  There is a shared concern amongst the Minimalist composers for choosing a process that allows for clarity of perception.  Christos Hatzis comments: “The medium (the composition) is the incidental result of, and the desire for, the act of communication.  It is the act itself and the level at which it happens that is of primary value.”  It is the “level” that has changed in the evolution of Pärt’s compositional vocabulary, and we are rewarded with a richer texture that challenges us both theoretically and theologically.

Intentional Listening for Representation and Relationship in Pärt’s Tintinnabulation — AJ DeBonis (Eastern University, PA)

Much debate has arisen in attempting to define and understand Arvo Pärt’s tintinnabulation method. I propose that there exists a distinct relationship between what is referred to as the ‘tintinnabular voice’ and the opposing voice that moves in stepwise motion, that each voice is representational, and that the style’s telos in the musical piece is to evoke the listener to enter into a state of theoria. These hypotheses were formed from musicological analyses of various works of Pärt, with particular attention to his “Summa” in light of themes inherent in Eastern Orthodox theology.

The tintinnabular voice, in arpeggiating the tonic triad, solidifies itself as the origin from which all other notes that comprise the moving voice are held in relation. This voice symbolizes God’s real presence, his immanence in regard to the individual, which is represented by the moving voice. Thus establishes the relationship, as the moving voice participates and digresses in attunement or flux with the tintinnabular voice, what I will call the Deus vox.

The listener, as he understands this relationship, becomes aware of the Deus vox through its repetitive arpeggiation, of the moving voice as representative of his own being, and of the moving voice’s dependence upon the Deus vox’s constant gifting of value (insomuch as the moving voice is designated as musically valuable and recognizable only in relation to the Deus vox’s establishment of tonicity and origin) through time. Ideally, due to the listener’s awareness of the inferences from this musical relationship that are made on reality, he turns from his own consciousness of his being as mediated in the moving voice toward his actual being’s relation to God, and forward, on to God, himself. Through this release of self (kenosis), the listener is then able to engage in contemplation and experience the presence of God.

Silence and Salvation — CJ Dickson (Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ)

This paper concerns itself with the motif of silence in Arvo Pärt’s later work and its theological significance. The aim is not only to further appreciate the composer, but also to offer constructive reflection on the theological issues at stake in this central motif. Drawing from the hesychast tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy, which upholds silence as the final culmination of one’s salvation and ascent into the eternal fellowship of the Trinity, it has been argued that silence in Pärt’s later work is the anticipation or realization of this destiny – that end toward which all religious devotion and even music itself strives. This interpretation has its strengths insofar as it seeks to understand Pärt’s work in light of his own religious tradition, and it seems to be the predominant (if not the only) one. But it has also provoked unease among some concerned with the larger theological implications of Pärt’s work, if it is indeed correct.

Through a close examination of the transitional work Sarah Was Ninety Years Old and an engagement with Stanley Cavell’s essay “Music Discomposed,” this paper argues for an alternative interpretation of silence in Pärt.  Here silence is understood as the abandonment of a human expression which has reached the point of crisis – something exemplified in Pärt’s own life after his rejection of earlier composing techniques. With its advent we find ourselves in the same position as Sarah in the biblical story: helpless with our own devices, it is only grace that might open our mouths and bring us to expression again. On this alternative interpretation, salvation does not bring us into silence. It takes us out of silence.

Arvo Pärt in the Marketplace — Laura Dolp (Montclair State University, NJ)

In the thirty years since Arvo Pärt’s radical transition toward a simplified compositional style, a variety of commercial and political forces have thrust his seemingly austere and overtly-religious music into the popular sphere. In the West, Pärt’s music has been the object of sustained press attention by a broad range of incongruous communities. Rhetorical language tends to be highly polarized, from critical commentary regarding the composer’s “fundamentalism” to laudatory defense of his “transcendent and mystical” music. The story of Pärt’s reception is inextricably bound with the Munich-based company ECM Records and its founder, Manfred Eicher, who has played a seminal role in Pärt’s commercial success and the shaping of the composer’s public identity. This study provides a full exploration of the various ways that Eicher has branded Pärt’s “elemental” style through drawing into relief and capitalizing on the ambiguities that make his music appealing to diverse ideological interests. ECM’s marketing imagery has developed three main themes: piety, the ideal of the individual spiritual seeker, and the valuation of symbolic, non-narrative forms of story-telling. Since Pärt’s debut album in 1984 (Tabula Rasa, ECM New Series), these themes have frequently surfaced in press criticism and have functioned as rhetorical points of contact for artist, product, curator, marketer, critic, and consumer. The study traces the correlation between the longevity of Pärt’s brand and its success within changing technological environments both on the web and through its new supportive role in visual media such as film.

Aural Icons: Multiple Ontologies and the Work of Recognition in Arvo Pärt’s Tintinnabuli Music — Jeffers Engelhardt (Amherst College, MA)

It has become commonplace in the marketing of and discourse surrounding Pärt’s music to speak of his tintinnabuli music as aural icons and to represent Pärt as an icon of post-ideological piety. In connection with Pärt and his work, however, there is almost no sustained critical engagement with the idea of the icon in its Orthodox Christian and secular semiotic senses, despite the fact that iconicity forges powerful links between Pärt’s creative process, practices of listening and consumption, performance concerns, and the meanings invested in Pärt’s music. In this paper, I think through the iconicity of Pärt’s tintinnabuli music along a number of routes, including the ways tintinnabuli articulates the Orthodox Christian theology of the icon and models ascetic discipline, the ways iconicity is recognized through particular modes of listening and shapes subjectivities through performance, and the ways iconic meanings are produced and mediated globally. Ultimately, this entails thinking through the multiple ontologies of Pärt’s tintinnabuli music that emerge as aural experiences iconically merge with other lived experiences in non-aribtrary, truthful ways. This can mean recognizing that Pärt’s tintinnabuli processes are based on religious, linguistic, and musical prototypes (similar to how believers recognize divine prototypes in Orthodox Christian icons), recognizing a musically mediated ascetic subjectivity through performance or listening, recognizing conventional translations of Pärt’s tintinnabuli music into other media, or recognizing Pärt’s complex national and religious significance in Estonia, for instnace. Through analyses of select tintinnabuli works (The Beatitudes, Spiegel im Spiegel), web-based social media, and marketing strategies as well as ethnographic work with Orthodox Christians in Estonia, I suggest that it is the work of recognition that lays bare the multiple ontologies of Pärt’s tintinnabuli music and invests its iconic qualities with spiritual power within religious communities and secular publics.

Arvo Pärt’s Miserere — Thomas Holm (Northwestern College, IA)

Arvo Paert’s Miserere was premiered in 1989 and is a setting of Psalm 50 (Miserere Mei, Deus) and the first eight verses of the “Dies Irae” sequence.  While he continues the “tintinnabuli” style of his earlier works, Paert frequently modifies this style to use rhetorical devices for textual expression.  The primary intent of this article is to provide an extensive discussion of Miserere, including general information (e.g., commissioning, performance occasion, etc.), a detailed textual/musical analysis, and a brief contextual discussion of this work compared with an earlier work (Passio, 1982) in the “tintinnabuli” style.  Such a comparison demonstrates the degree to which Paert progressed from a fairly strict adherence to the “tintinnabuli” style towards a much freer, expressive, intuitive approach.

Textual, chordal and tintinnabular analysis of Arvo Pärt’s The Beatitudes — Daniel Huey (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA)

Arvo Pärt’s The Beatitudes, written in 1990, utilizes a novel technique of tintinnabulation applied to the rhythmic and dissonance treatment of the text and its chordal sequence.  I will address these textual and chordal matters and put this choral an organ piece into context of minimalist composition, a style that Pärt’s music is often (though perhaps not always justifiably) categorized.

Pärt chose the text for The Beatitudes from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew 5:3-12.  The repetitive nature of each verse allows for some fascinating text-painting possibilities.  Verses 3-10 provide the same sentence construction—a blessing toward a certain virtue followed by a clause stating the reward of those possessing it.  The treatment of dissonances within the phrases is particularly worth noting.  For example, “Blessed” receives a harmonic dissonance, and each statement of the recurring word is long in duration.  Other key words are treated in the same manner.  The piece’s chord progression is a patterned process of New-Riemannian transformations.  Each phrase centers around a single chord in the progression, which continues to spin itself out to the climactic word “Amen,” where the arpeggiated organ solo concludes the piece by playing the progression in reverse order.

In addition to analyzing the textual and chordal relations, this analysis also describes Pärt’s tintinnabular technique and how he applied it in this piece.  The adjacent triadic members of each phrase’s chord frame the melodic lines that resemble Gregorian chant.  This paper also ponders the possibility of this piece’s being a minimalist composition  through the spinning out of a process throughout and the relative simplicity of triadic-centered music.

Transformations of pitch-class multiplicity in the tintinnabuli — Thomas Robinson (University of Alabama, AL)

Arvo Pärt’s ‘tintinnabuli’ music is simple, but deceptively so.  With a minimum of pitch classes, it exhibits a maximum of combinatorial variety.  “The word,” Paul Hillier writes, “refers to the ringing of bells, music in which the sound materials are in constant flux, though the overall image is one of stasis, of constant recognition.” While others have attended to the stasis of the ever-present triad, this paper addresses the constant flux of pitch-class multiplicity, finding remarkable heterogeneity in the doubling (or repetition) of pitch classes from pause to pause, rest to rest.

For example, a triad with its root and fifth doubled and with its third alone, represented as RRTFF, may be followed by the same triad with its root and third alone and with its fifth tripled, represented as RTFFF.  Using the original theoretical concept of multiplicity function, I show ways of both systematically accounting for these duplications and describing their transformation over time.  Often misunderstood as ‘static’ on account of its lack of cadences or its adherence to a single triad, this music contains significant structural transformations not only giving it shape, but even propelling its listeners forward.

The distinct roles of the three voices in Für Alina (1976) make it an economical and quintessential representative of tintinnabuli, showing how a superficially mechanical polyphony yields quantifiable vibrance, not monotony, among its segments.  In Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (1988/91) transformations of doubling occur within the homophony, while in Psalom (1985/91) large- and small-scale transformations of multiplicity within a single pitch-class set create a dramatic shape.

Dialogue with the Entirely Other — Christoph Schlütter (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)

This paper presents a new theological reflection of Arvo Pärt’s music. His music is often referred to as music out of the silence, which creates possibilities to hear a different voice, the voice of the Entirely Other (Lévinas). The first assumption is: If his music is able to provide isles of silence and contemplation in a world of noise, stimulus satiation, existential fear and interruptions, is then Pärt’s music some kind of wellness or does it offer a greater substance that is sustainable—despite its worldly commercialization? This would be of relevance for theological thinking. Consequently Pärt’s music is a voice of the present that is to be taken seriously in the contemporary discourse of theology in the approach of communication, nurture of the relation and the unification with the Entirely Other—in the words of Pärt: with the Christian God. A second assumption is: If Pärt says things that can’t be said, his works offer new possibilities for this communication and relationship between the Subject and the Entirely Other (Lévinas). In the horizon of Augustin’s notion of music, music becomes a kind of assortative principle of the universe (Augustin: De musica). The subject, caught up in a web of relationships with Others in the present society, can experience the visage of the Entirely Other in this music. Therefore the subject can find answers to existential theological questions through Pärt’s music, which could perhaps not be answered outside this medium

Arvo Pärt: Minimalism, Icons and Interiority — Robert Sholl (The Royal Academy of Music, UK)

Arvo Pärt has been pejoratively described as a ‘Holy Minimalist’, but how and in what sense is his music minimalist, or for that matter ‘holy’? American minimalism (proper) is characterised by a frenetic energy as a mirror of modern life, its consumerism and sense of alienation. That spiritual and utopian yearnings seem to arise effortlessly from this peculiarly Western, post-modern and intrinsically nihilistic graveyard, should be no surprise: the pleasure of (religious) meditation is a flipside of solipsism.

This paper begins with a discussion of Pärt’s inculcation and transformation of certain aesthetic traits of minimalism. Through a performance and subsequent discussion of Pärt’s Trivium (1976), the tintinnabulation technique is examined as a paradigm of the elusive but much cherished post-modernist ideal of staticism. With its overtones of release, alterity and ipseity, the icon, that most static of religious art forms, is a popular allegory of Pärt’s tintinnabulation technique.  Like this technique the beauty and emotional world of the icon is ascetic and self-referential, destined to repeat itself in a perpetual utopian search for embodiment.  The necessary inability of the icon to reach its source (the person of Christ) is a tension that is played out in Pärt’s own sublimation of post-modernist alienation in his music.  How then does this music embody this sense of disenchantment with the world and interiority shared in different ways by St Augustine, the Romantic idealist notion of Innerlichkeit, and its subsequent sedimentation in the modernist aesthetics of autonomy?  This paper explores the ways in which Pärt forges a minimalist aesthetic that promotes interiority not as a means of withdrawal from the world, but as a radical means of (non-)engagement and even transformation.

Out of time and place: the incongruity of Arvo Pärt — Benjamin Skipp (Oxford University, UK)

This article will examine the theoretical issues which surface when locating the music of Arvo Pärt within broader intellectual currents of the twentieth century. While Pärt’s rejection of the ‘sand pit game’ of Darmstadt-style composition has led to his unquestioned designation by some as a post-modernist, it will be argued that this term carries with it certain connotations that misrepresent Pärt’s aesthetic and religious concerns. I will illustrate how Pärt finds himself out of step with the post-modern attitude in relation to two significant areas, technology and religion. His incongruity is particularly apparent in light of the work of two analogous ‘post-minimalists’ Steve Reich and John Tavener who have engaged respectively with issues of technological ethics and spiritual eclecticism. Pärt’s musical evocation of a pre-industrial, Judeo-Christian past through his tintinnabula works can be understood as an alternative position to these. But of what value? Calling on theories propounded by Jürgen Habermas, the second part of my article will consider two opposing answers that reflect Pärt’s discomfort with the aporias of late capitalism. Firstly I will evaluate the possibility that the popular success which his music has enjoyed is proof that his music provides a reactionary mode of escapism for a technologically-saturated audience. In contrast, I will conclude by arguing that Pärt’s decision to cling on to increasingly unfashionable values (simplicity, unity, truth), which derive from his religious Orthodoxy, actually articulate the radical spirit of an evolved modernist outlook.

Symbolic Chiasm in Arvo Pärt’s Passio (1982) — Mark Vuorinen (Music Director, Toronto Chamber Choir, Canada)

Passio, is Arvo Pärt’s first large scale vocal-instrumental work in the tintinnabuli style and remains today one of his most significant compositions.  In this setting of the Passion text according to St. John, Pärt codifies procedures of tintinnabuli that will remain his principle means of musical communication for years to come while implying a very important perspective of Johannine theology.  His compositional design utilizes both small-scale and large-scale chiastic constructions and gives prominence to John’s observance in Chapter 18, verse 4, that Christ knows all that will occur in the events leading to his crucifixion.

Seen in this light, the Passion narrative unfolds according to a pre-ordained plan; it is this subtle perspective of the gospel that Arvo Pärt reveals musically in his Passio.  This paper approaches a musical analysis of Passio in relation to John’s perspective that Christ knew all that was to follow.  It illustrates that virtually every note is linked in someway to Pärt’s musical pilgrimage to the cross.  With a microscopic lens, the analysis connects Pärt’s use of melody, texture, inversion and tintinnabuli to a poignant marriage of music and the biblical text. And on a macroscopic level, it is shown that musical events unfold over time to reveal the inevitability of the crucifixion.   It is revealed that within the works tonal centres, large-scale textural procedures, pedal points and the music of the Exordium and Conclusio the path to the cross is present from beginning to end.  In this way, the listener is taken through the narrative only to realize afterward that the Gospel’s outcome was present from beginning to end.

Deconstructing Spirituality: Collage and Décollage Techniques in Arvo Pärt’s Credo (1968) — Andreas Waczkat (University of Göttingen, Germany)

Arvo Pärt composed Credo in 1968 as the last major work before he refrained from composing for several years. Though quoting the liturgical Credo in its title, Pärts Credo seems to be a work of personal confession. The beginning already alters the opening of the Nicene Creed »Credo in unum Deum« (»I believe in one God«) to »Credo in Jesum Christum« (»I believe in Jesus Christ«), to be followed by two lines from Matthew 5:38-9 with the word of Jesus not to resist evil before repeating »Credo« as a single word.

Credo is written in a style Pärt developed in his Collage teemal B-A-C-H (Collage on B-A-C-H) of 1964. Credo combines sections using material from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in C major of the first part of the Well-tempered Piano with dodecaphonic passages and quasi-aleatoric structures. With respect to the text one could think that there is a simple semiotic (or symbolic) and dialectic relationship between the clear diatonic »Credo« at the beginning and end and the dodecaphonic »Evil« in the middle of the composition (Hillier 1997:60-1). But on deconstructing this relationship things are getting much more complicated. First there is also a relationship of quotation and reinterpretation in the text. The »Oculum pro oculum, dente pro dente« (»An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth«) is a citation of Exodus 21:23-4, which is turned by the »Autem ego vobis dico« (»But I say unto you«) into a different direction. Pärt, though, apparently takes the material of Bach’s Prelude as a reliable model where dodecaphonic or even aleatoric structures could tend to lead musical development to a dead end. Secondly, Bach’s Prelude is part of a cycle already covering the entire possibilities of the chromatic scale with an apotheosis in the dodecaphonic subject of the b minor fugue. As the quotations of the Hebrew Bible in the New Testament in general stand for fulfillment of law and prophecies one could assume that Bach’s Well-tempered Piano stands for fulfillment of dodecaphonic raw material. Speaking in terms of art, Credo therefore tends to be a décollage rather than a collage. A décollage is the opposite of a collage in a certain way; instead of an image being built up of existing images or parts of them, it is created by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an original image. Collage techniques are techniques of addition and décollage techniques are techniques of reduction.

In my paper I will show how Pärt makes use of collage and décollage techniques both in text and music. The goal is to deconstruct the seemingly dialectic structures into a complex framework of multivalent meanings. As a result Credo will not have to appear as a confessional »Credo« but as a crucial work on Pärt’s way to the tintinnabuli style, where confession can be regarded as enhanced to spirituality, as well as dodecaphonic structures can be regarded as enhanced to diatonic tonality.