Chatter's blank slate

Composer Arvo Pärt

At $16, Chatter’s one-hour concerts at SITE Santa Fe offer a lot of interesting music on a cost-per-minute basis. Sometimes they offer many musicians on a pro-rata basis too, like the upcoming 17-performer concert. There, your per-player cost is less than a buck. (Ninety-four cents, to be exact.) The centerpiece work is Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Tabula Rasa, a concerto for two violins, string orchestra, and prepared piano from 1977. Pärt, who was born in 1935, adopted advanced techniques such as tone clusters and aleatory procedures in his early work. After an eight-year hiatus from published composition, during which he studied early music and joined the Orthodox Church, Pärt reemerged in 1976 with a radically purified style he called tintinnabula, from the Latin word for bell. Tabula Rasa’s first performers were stunned by the seeming simplicity of the piece, especially in the second of its two movements, titled “Silentium” (Silence). It was only in performance that its impact was revealed to them, and its first recording became incredibly popular with audiences far beyond the usual contemporary classical enthusiasts. Peter Garland’s Matachin Dances is also on the bill; Deborah Casillas provides the spoken-word segment. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, SITE Santa Fe, 1606 Paseo de Peralta, $16, with discounts available, — Mark Tiarks/For The New Mexican

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