Category Archives: nature

A First Visit to Stonecrop Gardens . . . to Music by Arvo Pärt

Stonecrop Gardens is fewer than thirty minutes south of us, yet we only recently discovered it.

It’s a very different sort of garden from Innisfree, which we visit several times a year.

Stonecrop’s design is as described here:

The gardens cover an area of approximately 15 acres and comprise a diverse collection of gardens and plants including woodland and water gardens, a grass garden, raised alpine stone beds, cliff rock gardens, and an enclosed English-style flower garden. Additional features include a Conservatory, display Alpine House, Pit House with an extensive collection of choice dwarf bulbs, and systematic order beds representing over 50 plant families. (From the website]

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Listening List

Another recent discovery, courtesy friend David Nice, was Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 3.

By the time Credo was composed in 1968, Pärt had come to the conclusion that the musical means he had been using so far had exhausted themselves. The composer then delved into early music because it was in Gregorian chant, early polyphony and polyphonic music from the Renaissance that he had previously found his musical examples, ideal sound combinations and techniques. This became the starting point for his eight-year period of searching for a unique musical language.

This silence was broken by Symphony No. 3, one of the first works that was considerably different from his earlier compositions and heralded Pärt’s new creative principles. The three movements of the composition follow each other attacca (i.e. without any break). The composer’s interest in monody and early polyphony is clearly visible here. The harmonic and melodic material brings to mind choir music from the 14th and 15th centuries, even though Pärt does not use any quotations. The polyphonic development in all movements of the piece do not emphasize the atmosphere from behind centuries, but rather, translate the thematic material into contemporary musical language. In Symphony No. 3 Pärt aimed to apply the notion of the movement of independent voices, imagining the entire structure of the composition as a metaphor for building a city. [citation]

Movement 1

Movement 2

Movement 3

David refers in a blog post to the BBC Proms performance of Symphony No. 3. While the performance itself is only available to watch on BBCPlayer if you are in the UK, a delightful moment from the rehearsal may be found here.


Credits: Sources for the quotations are at the links in the text. The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.


Autumn Falling Over Everything

Today marked the end of season at Innisfree Garden. The weather was uncertain, a bit humid and cloudy, but even so we ventured out. We weren’t the least disappointed except, of course, in the knowledge we’d not get another chance to visit until spring. Continue reading