Communicator (communicator) wrote,

John Tavener and Arvo Pärt

Last night I went to Coventry cathedral with happytune to listen to a concert of a capella choral music in the Russian tradition by John Taverner and Arvo Pärt, and a 19th/20th century Russian composer Alexander Gretchaninoff (I don't know him at all). There were two choirs, the University of Warwick Chorus and the University of Warwick Chamber Choir (both amateur of course).

There is quite a narrow band of classical music that I really, really love, and it's mostly the fairly sparse and austere choral music. Taverner and Pärt are two of the composers I listen to most on my i-Pod. Furthermore this was embedded in a perfect venue: well, not just a perfect venue, but a venue which was enhanced by the bleak foggy evening. So the whole thing added up to a wonderful sensory experience for me.

It was freezing cold, even inside the cathedral it was pretty chilly, and the whole place is very austere stone, with little decoration. In the dark and fog the pillars loomed up into the gloom, giving the cathedral the sort of emotional presence I normally only associate with very old buildings.

I don't have any technical understanding of music, but this type of sound produces a strong physical feeling in me, which I compare to feeling of eating something very sweet, touching something cold and smooth, or sometimes a numb floaty feeling. I think it's some kind of neural right brain effect.

I was thinking when I woke up this morning that it might be because composers like Pärt don't emphasise a narrative going forward, so much as the present sound. I don't know if that makes sense. So it perhaps sends the linear left brain off to sleep or something.

happytune has also posted about the concert, with her musical insight, here.
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