One of the greatest and most enigmatic composers of the late 20th century is made considerably more accessible in “Arvo Part: 24 Preludes for a Fugue.” Both an interview and a study of the creative process, this carefully assembled pic, divided into two-dozen short chapters, is superb fare for music-minded fests, and will brighten arts channels in any language.
Russian helmer Dorian Supin draws on his knowledge (and earlier footage) of Part to give a non-narrated tour of the Estonian composer’s rise in the world of serious music. Thoughtful recollections describe unconventional schooling (his mother thought he was practicing Bach when he was already crafting childhood compositions) and eventual exile from the Soviet arts world, when increasingly minimalist works began to reflect intense Orthodox faith. He still lives in Berlin, and is seen there and in other cities rehearsing works such as “Fratres” and “Tabula Rasa,” offering rare insight into his thinking on several levels. Far from coming across as the dour, monk-like hermit his bearded visage suggests, Part, usually traveling with his sharp-witted wife, Alina, as well as comparing notes with top musicians, displays self-effacing wit and abiding humanity.