It is with modesty and slight trepidation that the Vlaams Radiokoor sets off on tour. A pilgrimage of life: across the hills and vales of our experiences, meandering through the emotions that makes us who we are. The space for reflection and distance from ourselves needed to bring this journey to successful completion is reflected in the ethereal music of Arvo Pärt, among others. It is not the final destination that matters most, but the journey itself, which allows us to find ourselves.
A pilgrimage requires time, endurance, and resignation. The Missa Sillabica by Arvo Pärt provides a guidepost along the journey with quiet and abstract power – as on a true pilgrimage, a succession of moments filled with wonderment, awe before nature and spiritual reflection.
A journey that is also filled with questions: why do we exist, is there a greater plan, what is there after earthly life? The fundamental doubt and uncertainty about these matters has for centuries determined how we humans live, think and feel. In Arvo Pärt’s Ein Wallfahrtslied there is space for embracing this anxiety about the last things, and Cyrillus Kreek also stops to reflect on our emotional cries for help and redemption in his Psalms of David.
Humanity has been seeking redemption for centuries in nature, in religion, in ourselves. Is the way to reaching heaven the final goal of this pilgrimage after all? With Ēriks Ešenvalds’ In Paradisum, that seems to be the case: the refined drama warms our soul, without denying the fragility of our existence: ‘May a choir of angels welcome you, may you find eternal rest.’
Flagey, Brussels Philharmonic, Vlaams Radiokoor