Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fur Alina

Music by Arvo Part

You sit in a darkened room looking into a garden. There is no moon.

A single disembodied note sounds, and in the ambient light you see a piano. There is a repeated triad that you think is the opening of Moonlight Sonata, but it's not. It is a simple right-handed exercise, lovely in its repetition, a practiced, careful rhythm.

From a shadow in the drapes, a violin begins a pair of notes, one simple bow stroke, down and up, listening, enjoying its resonance, perfecting its tone. As if they were unaware of each other, piano and violin continue with parts accidentally overlaid.

Long slow notes by the violin are a wistful melody, the finger exercise a cautious metronome.

This is crushingly intimate music.

We have stumbled into a sacred moment. When the left hand strikes a lower key, it is as if a third musician has entered the room and with a simple, ominous single note, has taken the percussive role from the right hand. But the right continues and our attention is drawn again to its simple melody. There is that repeating triad. The cycle begins again.

This is Fur Alina. It is so lovely, so innocent and so unspoilt, we can only cry upon first hearing. It is unimaginable.