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Pictures at an Arvo Pärt Exhibition

A synthesizer rendition of the composer's "Solfeggio"

Classical music and synthesizers go hand in hand, in part because of the academic origins of much beta-era synthesizer experimentation, and in part because of how renditions by Wendy Carlos, Tomita, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, among others, of standard repertoire helped expand the early audience for electronic music. The tradition is alive and well. This coming month, Sony will release the retro Bach to Moog by Craig Leon.

What follows are two different versions of a contemporary classical favorite: the same Arvo Pärt piece performed on two very different synthesizers. The piece is Pärt’s “Solfeggio,” which in its original form is arranged for a gently shifting array human voices. Here it is with its tones transferred by the artist Tomorrow the Cure to the Tetra, from Dave Smith Instruments, the “father” of MIDI:

There is also a version from 2009 on the Doepfer Dark Energy by the same musician, who is based in Norfolk, Great Britain (more at soundcloud.com/tomorrowthecure). That Dark Energy recording is not available for embedding, but can be accessed at the musician’s youtube.com account.

And here, for cross-reference, is a vocal rendition of the same Pärt piece:

The Tetra version was originally found thanks to the excellent matrixsynth.com website.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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