Sunday 13 July 2008

big sky

During the Festival of Perth in Western Australia in 1994, I had the good fortune to meet the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

In a mixture of French and broken German, I suggested to him one reason why his music seemed to have such purchase in Australian concert halls, where audiences were highly attentive and enthusiastic.

This attuned sensitivity, I proposed, perhaps related to a sense of open space and a quality of light so many people seem to experience corporeally in the island-continent of Australia, and that similar space and light were somehow generated within the sparse architecture and active silences of his music.

He smiled and nodded gently, then looked up above his head and pointed: ‘Big sky’, he said.

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