Sunday, April 9, 2017


We’re back for another Sunday Music post featuring the music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

Today’s selection is “Fratres”, which Pärt composed in 1977. “Fratres” also employs Pärt’s tintinnabuli technique, which was discussed in last week’s post. According to Wikipedia, quoting Deutsche Grammophon’s Sinfini Music website, the composition is a “mesmerising set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that ‘the instant and eternity are struggling within us’.” (Note that Wikipedia’s link to the article isn’t working because the Sinfini music site is closed). 

“Fratres” was composed “without fixed instrumentation”, & many combinations of instruments have been performed & recorded. The most common are violin & piano & cello & piano, but it’s also common to see wind ensembles, cello ensembles & various string ensembles, often with percussion added. However a search on YouTube turns up some more unusual combinations as well, including two pianos; cello & guitar (an interesting arrangement, but to my ear a six-string guitar lacks the force & depth to really carry off its part—it would be interesting to hear an arrangement for a guitar with extended bass strings); marimba & vibraphone; & violin & accordion.

I’ve chosen two versions from the many; do hope you enjoy them.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons :
"Ewigkeit – Sinnspruch an einer Wanduhr in Meersburg, Bodensee" by Evergreen68 who makes the image available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unportedlicense. The clock inscription in English: "The Golden Age flies to Shadows; O Human, recall Eternity."


  1. Oh man, I really love the cello and harp version!

    1. & a graphite cello, no less! Yes, they both play beautifully.


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