A Dutch documentary offers a distinctive look at the influence of Arvo Pärt’s music

A new documentary, called “That Pärt Feeling – The Universe of Arvo Pärt”, directed by Dutchman Paul Hegeman, seeks to understand the wonder of Pärt through the eyes of professional musicians.

In February, a new Dutch-made documentary about Pärt premiered at Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam. Directed by Paul Hegeman, the 75-minute documentary has since had screenings at various film festivals across Europe – and also at the Arvo Pärt Centre in Laulasmaa, Estonia.

Paul Hegeman with Arvo Pärt at the screening of the documentary in Arvo Pärt Centre in August 2019.

“Arvo Pärt, the most celebrated living composer of our time, is considered to be something of a recluse. However, at work he appears to be the total opposite, combining an incredible sensitivity with humour and energy. His intense collaboration with the Cello Octet Amsterdam forms the heart of this documentary that sheds a bright light on Pärt’s universe,” the filmmakers behind the documentary said.

According to the Arvo Pärt Centre, the film offers a distinctive look at the influence of Pärt’s music, seeking to understand the wonder of Pärt through the eyes of professional musicians. “Certainly, the composer reveals himself to the viewer from a different angle during an intensive period of rehearsals.”

Sharing their thoughts and feelings about Pärt’s work in the documentary are conductors Daniel Reuss, Raol Boesten and Tõnu Kaljuste; violinist Candida Thompson; pianist Ralph van Raat; the long-time artistic director of the Nederlands Dans Theater and choreographer of Czech origin, Jirí Kylián; the young Canadian-born foreign Estonian composer of electronic music, Kara-Lis Coverdale; and the French-Senegalese filmmaker, Alain Gomis.

The soundtrack of the documentary features many of Arvo Pärt’s works, including Tabula rasa, Summa, Fratres, Solfeggio, Für Alina, Da pacem Domine, Kanon pokajanen, The Deer’s Cry, Trivium, Symphony No. 3, La Sindone, Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen and My Heart’s in the Highlands.

Cover: Arvo Pärt, courtesy of “That Pärt Feeling – The Universe of Arvo Pärt”.