TMC presents Passio by Arvo Pärt
Archived Articles 23 Mar 2007  EWR
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The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir will present Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's meditative work “Passio on Friday, April 6, 2007, 8:00PM at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge Street, Toronto. One of the only modern composers to develop a new principle of music, Pärt crosses cultural and religious boundaries with this serene and reflective composition. For more information the public can call 416-598-0422 or visit

Passio, a mystical version of the Passion of St. John was written by Arvo Pärt in 1980 and exemplifies his distinct style of implementing minimalist harmonies and rhythmic language. Born in 1935 in a Soviet controlled Estonia, Pärt's early musical studies were confined by the strict ideological control of the era. In the 1960's, his music was decidedly influenced by the work of Tchaikovsky and Bach. Openly declaring his Christian faith, Pärt's work was banned in the USSR and frustrated, he retreated to the study of Renaissance music, immersing himself in plainchant. Pärt began an intimate study of the language of music and emerged with a principle that he termed "Tintinnabuli".

"Tintinnabulation is like this. Here I am alone with silence. I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played. This one note, or a silent beat, or a moment of silence, comforts me."(Arvo Pärt)

In the 1980's Arvo Pärt immigrated to Berlin where he wrote the transcendent composition Passio. In contrast to Bach's Passion with its elaborate sequencing, Pärt returned to the simplicity of the Latin translation. Applying the principle of Tintinnabuli, the listener finds themselves not only mesmerized by the sequencing and duration of the notes, but the silences between notes, creating a profound meditative quality to his music. "This sacredness of silence is characteristic of Pärt's musical thought" (Paul Hillier).

Under the direction of TMC Artistic Director and conductor Noel Edison, Passio will be performed by the Mendelssohn Singers and will be joined by soloists Michael Colvin (tenor) and Andrew Tees (baritone).

Single tickets for the TMC's presentation of Arvo Pärt's Passio are $30 - $65. Tickets are available at 416-598-0422 ext. 21 or the public can visit for more information.
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