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"I have developed a highly formalised compositional system, which I have been using to write my music for twenty years. Summa is the most strict and enigmatic work in this series", said Arvo Pärt in 1994. The neutral title itself embodies the essence of the content as the work is based on the text of the Latin Credo. The great simplicity of the piece masks its complexity. The underlying rules ensure that on the surface a cycle of continuous change is created while the deep structure possesses an order of stillness. (Saale Kareda) Originally written for four a cappella voices in 1977, the string quartet version dates from 1991.
If you like your mystic minimalism with an aura of wonder, mystery and timelessness, then this Summa arrangement could be just for you and your quarret. (…) Unable to find a recording of Summa played by quarret, I believe is still effective with only one player per part and no basses. Indeed, there is a wonderful opportunity for distinct purity, harking back to the clarity of the original 4 voices. Summa's gently-flowing contrapuntal lines meander araund each other, producing haunting modal harmonies that will bring a mesmerizing, peaceful repose to your next quartet concert. Stringendo Magazine 04/2013