A Purpose In Life & Sonata 111

I came to this planet as an agent of Grace. I’m an artist. I use images, gestures, words, objects, sounds, music, dance, performance, events using skills of observation and expression to celebrate the beautiful, sometimes unlikely or disguised. I value freedom, for beauty lives in the eyes of beholders and so, beauty is granted by free observation.

Gesture 111  – An Adaptation of L.V. Beethoven’s Opus 111

Work proceeding at this writing as I score Sonata (or Sonnet) 111.  I’m sure to change the last part and I envision unconventional staging I must describe ( while this should work well with conventional orchestra resources for some performances).

By way of inceptional background:

…reading Thomas Mann’s,  Dr. Faustus, written in Munich in 1943 , under aerial bombardment by the allies, it’s a fictional biography of a composer in Germany at the turn of the century and through WWI, a time when autonomous music was in the ritual of life, love and religion for the bourgeois culture. Mann knew music. Between Mann’s  Faustus and Philip Radcliffe’s Beethoven’s String Quartets (1965), I saw a continuity from before Palestrina, through, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler… Schoenberg. The thesis of Dr. Faustus is an extraordinary statement about dehumanization of human beings through culture. Mann’s story draws a distinction about the satanic: in suppressing expressions of our animal nature, bourgeois spirituality makes nature evil. Mann’s man makes a deal with nature, such that he creates a monumental work in music in exchange for his soul.

Examining Opus 111 sonata #32 led me to experiment in this piece with Beethoven’s rhythmic sensibility in musical ideas, motives, etc., that we hear in pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Mendelsohn, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and so on. In Dr. Faustus, Sonata #32 is deconstructed to draw a distinction about the nature of freedom and the premise that creation requires transformation,  when a form becomes another form. Piano Sonata #32, Op. 111 was described in Beethoven’s time as the epitome and final statement of what is possible in sonata.
Michael
July 7, 2015

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