Music Mondays - Fratres

In honor of the SoNA concert this past weekend; my musical offering this week is Fratres by Arvo Pärt for violin and accompaniment.

Silly me, when I first saw the program for our most recent concert, I assumed that our guest soloist, a young violinist named Alexi Kenney, would be performing this awesome piece. I completely forgot that there exists a version (the original, actually) for string orchestra and percussion WITHOUT solo violin.

In fact, I did not know that Fratres is ‘three-part music, written in 1977, without fixed instrumentation’ and there are about 17 different versions listed on the Wikipedia page. Fratres is a “mesmerizing set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that ‘the instant and eternity are struggling within us’.”

The following films feature Fratres in their soundtracks:

  • 1987 film Rachel River
  • 1997 German film Winter Sleepers
  • 2005 six-part BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’ produced by Laurence Rees, used the composition performed in 1997 by the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Tamás Benedek
  • 2006 film La Morte Rouge directed by Victor Erice
  • 2007 film There Will Be Blood directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
  • 2013 film To the Wonder directed by Terrence Malick
  • 2013 film The Place Beyond the Pines directed by Derek Cianfrance
  • 2013 teaser trailer for the film A Single Shot, starring Sam Rockwell
  • 2013 film Violette directed by Martin Provost
  • 2015 film Le Club directed by Pablo Larraín

So here is my favorite version of the piece ~


....and here is the version we performed

P.S. I have started a Spotify playlist of all of the music listed in these posts. Please follow or subscribe to it, as I will be updating it weekly with every Music Monday Post on the Blog. I set that account up pre-Active Violinist so search for the user okmurray and the playlist is titled “Active Violinist – Music Mondays.”