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Saturday, 21 August 2010

Symphony No. 4, Los Angeles

I was fortunate to attend the Proms last night in London at the Albert Hall, and hear the UK premiere of Symphony No. 4 "Los Angeles" by Arvo Pärt, European music's greatest living composer, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.  First premiered in LA, it might be a curious theme for a spiritual recluse - that glitzy city and symbol - but the work manages to capture both the drama and subtlety of 21st century existence in a way that is profoundly meditative, yet moving - and, of course, cinematic.  After the concert, I met the composer by chance at a London hotel where we were both dining.  He immediately impressed me as being one of the most gentle, modest, and yes, spiritual persons I have ever met - as if Dostoyevsky had emerged from the depths.  He was also humorous and we spoke of poetry and music. His eyes glimmered with amusement and kindness the whole time, and interest - extraordinarily bereft of egotism.  I have much to learn from such a master.  For those yet to have heard his work, do seek it out.
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