The generally quiet Arvo Pärt just dedicated his new work, that just premiered in L.A., to jailed Russian oligarch and supershady d00d Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the former Communist apparatchkis who magically went from broke to trillionaire following the collapse of the good ole USSR.
Mark Swed reports:
But now, 38 years after the Third Symphony, Pärt has written a Fourth, labeled it “Los Angeles” and dedicated it to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oil executive with political ambitions who was accused of fraud and now languishes in a Siberian prison. Pärt explained in a program insert that he is also reaching out in this symphony to “all those imprisoned without rights in Russia.” For the composer, the symphony is meant as “carrier pigeon” he hopes might “reach faraway Siberia one day.”
If not, at least the pigeon will have a nourished soul, because the symphony is large -- at 37 minutes considerably longer than the earlier ones -- and exceedingly beautiful. I found a carrier pigeon of my own to send a question backstage to Pärt after the performance about the meaning of the dedication. The composer called Khodorkovsky a great man and said Russia would be a better country had the oligarch, once Russia’s wealthiest man, become its leader.