Arvo Pärt: Wallfahrtslied / Pilgrims' Song

  • for tenor or baritone and string quartet
  • Duration: 9’
  • Soloists:
    tenor or baritone
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st violin
    2nd violin
  • Composer: Arvo Pärt
  • Table of contents:
    Ein Wallfahrtslied (Psalm 121) für Männerstimme und Streichquartett
  • Dedication: in memory of Grigori Kromanov
  • Commission: Im Auftrag des Senders Freies Berlin geschrieben

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Work introduction

When my friend Grigori Kromanov, the Estonian film and stage director, died in July 1984, it was like a bolt from the blue. Suddenly an invisible rift had opened up between us – with me still on the side of time and him already in the sphere of timelessness.

My Pilgrims’ Song is an attempt to overcome this insurmountable gap through a gentle touch, a greeting. I wanted the two worlds, Here and There, to merge in the music, as contrasting layers – that was the origin of the work.

On the one side, there is the dynamism and mobility of the orchestra – and on the other, the static quality of the men’s voices, reduced to a single pitch, with the serenity of a mountain.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…

Arvo Pärt


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