Score and Pärt’s

Members of the public rarely see the orchestral score of a symphony – certainly not before its premier. In what must be a first, Universal Edition have published an e-score of Symphony No. 4 by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, which receives its premier by the LA Philharmonic next month.

The score contains no audio facility and is tricky to navigate but that is to look a gift horse in the mouth. To see on e-paper the inner-workings of the distinctive sound of Pärt’s music feels like some kind of privilege.

Chasing the links for this post turned into a joyous example of what I earlier referred to as pinball reading. I first came across the story on the blog of Alex Ross – winner of the Guardian First Book Award for The Rest Is Noise. He rightly cites Tom Service of Radio 3’s Music Matters as his source. In my search for a link to the LA Philharmonic I came across this 13-minute video from CBS News (the only news site to advertise Viagra??) on the orchestra’s new conductor Gustavo Dudamel. In the film he describes his gratitude for El Sistema in which he was tutored, along with plans for a similar programme in LA.  Will El Sistema continue to grow beyond Caracas, Los Angeles & Stirling?


4 thoughts on “Score and Pärt’s”

  1. Hi Neil

    Thanks for that. I downloaded a cello part, which is mostly playable on guitar (it drops down to a low C a couple of times, but that’s not the end of the world). I don’t imagine that they really need a guitar in there, but it’ll be interesting to join in. The whole project looks very impressive – although it has not escaped criticism ( )

    I’ll scribble a short piece about it with links and point colleagues and pupils towards that – including a courteous nod to yourself, of course.

    I hope your holiday is going well. Happy New Year!


  2. Hi Alan,

    I tried to find a contact on your blog page but couldn’t… Let me introduce myself to you, my name is Joseph Pisano and I am a Professor of Music and Fine Arts at Grove City College, in Grove City PA. My site,, has been looking for 100 music educators to join our campain about blogging about music and education. I’m sorry to say that I’ve just become aware of your fantastic blog by two folks, Neil Winton and Robert Jones who suggested to me that you should be on the list.

    As the list is something that I simply don’t put people’s name up without having had them contact me first, I am contacting you to be see if you would like to be our final ME blogger in the campaign. I had thought that I had filled the list completely but I had a ME Blogger “drop out” last month so there is still one spot left! My final and “Official” list will be published January 1st (Hopefully, if I hear from you soon!)! I would love to have you aboard as you are so established as a music blogger.

    Best regards,

    J. Pisano

  3. Wow that was amazing! It looked confusing to begin with but as I became used to it, I could almost hear the texture of some of it.
    To see how the pulse changes from bar to bar on paper somehow makes me think it’s a piece that would have to be played by feeling as much as counting.
    I learned two things…that “crot” is an abbreviation for crotales ( Seen and heard them in L’apres midi, but never knew that’s what they were called. And that doglioso is Italian for sorrowfully – well, I guessed doleful, so I was right!
    Thanks for that link Alan.

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