Listeners often speak of a certain mystery in the way that Arvo Part evokes spirituality through his music, but no one has taken a sustained, close look at how he achieves this. Arvo Part: Out of Silence examines the powerful interplay between Part's music and the composer's own deep roots in the Orthodox Christian faith-a relationship that has born much creative fruit and won the hearts of countless listeners across the globe.From the Introduction:Conversations about this remarkable music, especially by its more avid listeners, often feature a "my first encounter with Arvo Part" story. On our way toward an immersion into that world, I thought I would give you mine so that you might know whose company you are keeping as you read this book.I actually met the man before encountering his music. It was during the early 1990s: Part and I found ourselves visiting the same monastery for a week, where a mutual friend made sure to introduce us. Part was, after all, a famous composer, and I had earned degrees in both music and theology. But as it was, I had never knowingly heard a note of his music. I had not actually even heard of him. We spent hours walking together and talking on themes of mutual interest, among them the phenomenon of "Holy Foolishness" on which I had just written a thesis. At one point I asked him about his music, what it was like, what kinds of instrumentation he employed. He chatted about it with no pretense or fanfare: "Sometimes I write for choir, sometimes for orchestra. Or the organ ..." I had the sense that if he was famous-and it turned out that by this time, he really was-he was probably enjoying the opportunity to talk to someone who was neither an awestruck admirer nor a jaded music critic. I enjoyed his company immensely, but what did his music sound like? What were the chances that I would even like it?
"A luminous engagement of music, philosophy, and belief." - LAURIE ANDERSON, Composer, musician, performance artist; "Many of us have written about Part, but one thing was missing, the view from within the Orthodox Christian tradition that has guided Part's work since the 1970s. This has now been provided by Peter Bouteneff, writing with clarity, precision, and the graceful authority of one who knows what he is talking about." - PAUL HILLIER, Co-founder, the Hilliard Ensemble, author, Arvo Part (Oxford, 1997); "This illuminating meditation on the pillars of Part's music - word, silence, and bright sadness - gives voice to what many intuit in the music and is a game changer for Part scholarship. Unafraid to traverse the same boundaries of religion, spirituality, and popular culture as Part's music, Bouteneff's book is essential reading for those devoted to Part's music and interested in the place of Orthodox Christianity in public life." - JEFFERS ENGELHARDT , Amherst College
A professor of theology and a conservatory-trained musician, Peter Bouteneff has been an ardent and attentive listener to Arvo Part's music ever since he came to know the composer personally in 1990. He teaches systematic theology and spirituality at St Vladimir's Seminary, where he also co-directs the Arvo Part Project.