Spiegel im Spiegel was written by Arvo Pärt shortly before he left Estonia. He’s one of the pioneers of a school of music known as holy minimalism.
Of his popularity, Steve Reich has written: “Even in Estonia, Arvo was getting the same feeling that we were all getting …. I love his music, and I love the fact that he is such a brave, talented man …. He’s completely out of step with the zeitgeist and yet he’s enormously popular, which is so inspiring. His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion.”
“Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” as well as “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to the infinity of images produced by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth.
In 2011 the piece was the focus of a half hour BBC Radio 4 programme, Soul Music, which examined pieces of music “with a powerful emotional impact”.