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 Post subject: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:46 pm 
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Posts: 218
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
I am not a great fan of minimalism and it appears no one else is around here, but rules have exceptions. I first heard this piece several years ago as the final (!) piece of a concert in a small church by a talented young pianist, and was immediately taken with it. My advice is not to try to listen to it while doing something else, and preferably only if you feel like meditating for a few minutes.

In performances there are often one or two repeats but that would be trying your patience too far I think - if you really like it that much you can put it on a loop!

The construction of this piece is quite rule-based. For those who are curious wikipedia has a good summary of it.

Joachim

Pärt - Für Alina (2:24)


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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:18 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
There are exceptions to everything, and for me I like this very much. It has the spirit of Japanese rock-garden stuff, if not its lexicon (minor instead of pentatonic), or of a sort-of Debussy Des pas sur la neige.

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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:58 pm 
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I'm not much given to meditation, but two minutes was not too long to concentrate.
Have to admit that Pärt's music, while often full of beautiful sonorities, usually bores me to tears - especially his "Variations for the healing of Arinushka" which seems to be quite a hit on Dutch radio, and it goes on ans on. This little piece is quite touching though, and thankfully not so long as to get boring. It seems well and lovingly performed (it is not very difficult I guess :wink: ) but what bothers me is the massive background hiss. The Hough pieces have quite some hiss too but I did not find it so obtrusive as here. Have you changed anything ?

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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:13 pm
Posts: 218
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Thanks for listening and replying!

About the hiss: I don't think I changed anything. Are you sure it is not just the volume turned too high? The whole piece is supposed to be quite soft.

I understand what you mean by Pärt sounding boring and to some extent I share this feeling. I actually tried the Arinushka but could not muster enough enthusiasm for it (amazing it is a radio hit!). Here is the way I see it:

Music is a kind of communication, and for most pieces we play there is a focus on a [i]process[/i]: ideas and emotions develop, interact, transform, and produce excitement and interest. When I play or listen to something I always try to understand it as a non verbalised story. In Pärt and a few others there is hardly any process, the focus is on a single [i]state[/i], to let the listener be fully enclosed in just a single thing. If we expect a process we quickly get bored, just as we would be if we go to see a movie and find out it only contains one still picture.

In music of course there are aspects of both process and state in most works to varying degree. For example the first movement of the Moonlight is more state than process. But Pärt takes this to such an extreme that the concepts of beginning and end have no meaning. To appreciate it one has to listen in a completely different way. I guess the same holds for some variants of techno music (which I also have trouble with).

Having said all this I must admit to some cheating in my Alina in that I tried to highlight some process elements with some dynamics; this is probably not quite orthodox Pärt. For example I accent the only place where the LH leaves the B minor triad and play the following bars una corda. But I think the piece can survive this.

Hitting the notes here is of course not difficult. Figuring out a meaningful approach required some effort to think outside my quite narrow box.


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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:41 pm 
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troglodyte wrote:
About the hiss: I don't think I changed anything. Are you sure it is not just the volume turned too high? The whole piece is supposed to be quite soft.
I did indeed notice it (on my headphones) mainly because the volume was turned way up. But turned it down to normal and could still hear the hiss (quite unusual for me). This was not so in your previous recordings. I think you had the input gain high up when recording this, just compare the beginning with the beginning of the Hough, at the same high volume and you'll see (hear) my point. The Hough recording has quite high hiss, too. Not sure how you do it. Cheap mp3 recorder ?

troglodyte wrote:
To appreciate it one has to listen in a completely different way. I guess the same holds for some variants of techno music (which I also have trouble with).
Interesting comparison. I guess both aim to put the listeners in a trance rather than engage and stimulate them.

troglodyte wrote:
Hitting the notes here is of course not difficult. Figuring out a meaningful approach required some effort to think outside my quite narrow box.
The Narrow Parrow box, hehe. Actually it is bigger than you give it credit for.

Will you record more Part ? If not, I think this shall go in the Various section. He's not much of a piano composer anyway.

Oh BTW, please do not use umlauts etc in file names and ID tags. They give me a headache. I must mention that in the guidelines.

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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:43 pm 
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Posts: 218
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Edirol R-09. I don't know about cheap but it is several years old. You are right that I turned up gain to max since I knew this was going to soft, and didn't realise it affected the hiss.

I attach the file without umlauts, and de-amplified 6db. It gets rid of most of the hiss. I don't think I'll do more Pärt, let it be Various. He did not write much for piano anyway.

Now holidays are over and I'll have very little time for piano, I hope to check in here from time to time though!

Pärt - Für Alina (2:24)


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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:33 am 
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Ok, this is on the site now. Joachim, for your next submission can you please check our posting about file naming and tagging :

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5115

There was a space in the file name, and the ID3 tags were not as required. I'll keep nagging everybody until they got it right :D

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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:30 am 
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Location: New York, U.S.A
I love music from Estonia and I like this piece very much. I can really hear the phrasing. It is a great piece and clearly shows how beautiful simplicity can be. Bravo!

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 Post subject: Re: Arvo Pärt: Für Alina (1976)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:45 pm
Posts: 2815
Location: Germany
For me that´s a wonderful piece and your playing is very clear, beautiful and adequate. I think, Arvo Pärt style here in Germany is called "Neue Einfachheit" (=New Simplicity), but, of course, this piece has some minimalistic structures, though it´s not real Minimal Music in the sense of Steve Reich respective Philip Glas. (I play it also sometimes in school, if I go to postmodern music.)

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