Arvo Pärt and his wife Nora Pärt, speaking to an interviewer:
[...] my experience with the third symphony left me dissatisfied. It became clear to me that I was caught within my relationship to musical history, which was too much one of debt. And that my work somehow lacked a style of its own. But I had succeeded in building a bridge within myself between yesterday and today - a yesterday that was several centuries old - and this encouraged me to go on exploring. During those years I filled thousands of pages with exercises in which I wrote out single voiced melodies. At home there is a cupboard full of exercises like this. [...]
N.B.: Arvo wanted to develop his spontaneity, and not just through this experiment with the psalms - I can remember that he observed flocks of birds, sketched them in a book, and wrote a melody next to the drawing. In other cases he used photos of mountains as inspiration to find a musical phrase. He had the feeling that the observation of cold, dead roles from years gone by had extinguished his own free, creative impulse.
[...] You can't imagine how important this period was, with all its pages of exercises and psalms. He didn't know if he had found anything at all, and if he had, what it was. But he would certainly have given up composition if he had found nothing. I knew that he would not have been able to go on living without that music, which was the real content of his life.