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?
“Music has to be recognized as an…agent of social development in the highest sense, because it transmits the highest values – solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community and to express sublime feelings.”
These are the words of José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema – the now famous system of music education in Venezuela. It was announced today that he is one of three winners of the TED Prize 2009.
At one end of the scale young children escape from a world of drugs and guns into the more nurturing environment of “102 youth orchestras, 55 children’s orchestras, and 270 music centers.” At the other emerges the Orquesta Juvenil Simón Bolívar de Venezuela whose performance and reception at the 2007 Proms remains one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen. You can get some idea of the atmosphere in this video. During the interval the conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, spoke in terms of unconfined respect and admiration for maestro Abreu in an interview with Verity Sharp.
Inspired by the Venezuelan model, a Scottish version is underway. You can read about Sistema Scotland here.