Bell Solaris (Twelve Movements for Piano) Transformations of a Theme

1998

[SCORE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AND LINKS TO SEVERAL VIDEOS PROVIDED] For piano soloist; movements entitled, I. Fanfare for the Sun, II. In Contemplation of Transformation, III. The Right Measure of Opposites, IV. Phaeton Reaches for the Speed of Light, V. Daphne Nods in Consent, VI. Argus’s Eyes See the Code of Small and Large, VII. Callisto and Arcas in the Stars, VIII. The Cost of the Gift of Prophecy–Ocyrhoe’s Forfeiture, IX. Raven’s Wings Telling Tales, X. Hymn of Change, XI. Transformation Canon–For Pythagoras, and XII. Coda–The Past is Determined by the Impermanence of Perfect Memory.

Program Notes
Bell Solaris – the Sun rings like a bell, initiating waves of influence that traverse, shape and create space, time and life. Various influences–GONG, the Global Oscillation Network Group, on–line access to the daily spectrum of portents from the Sun's vibrations; myths from which the psyche of our culture has grown; Ovid's catalog of transformations among gods and mortals and chronicles of Pythagoras's lectures on change–are transfigured by the composer's views of history, evolution and a penchant for symbolic replication and anthropomorphism.

The compositional craft involves a potpourri of methods for transforming musical shapes, melodies, rhythms and harmonic spaces. Except for some material in movement I. Fanfare for the Sun, all the music in this set of twelve movements results from metamorphoses of the Bell Solaris theme, which is heard in its original form only in movement X. Hymn of Change.

Various words, phrases, statements, questions, quotes and poetic images are imbedded in the notation, suggesting thoughts, feelings and symbols enfolded inside the sounds.

I. Fanfare for the Sun
Resonance; Global oscillation; Discernible architecture; "Aurora, forerunner of the day, gilds the sky . . ."; Spellbinding; "Suppose that time is not a quantity, but a quality . . ."; Adoration; Re–emergence

II. In Contemplation of Transformation
". . . unroll for them the scroll of fate, and cheer their panic and their fear . . ."; "Then the crops, in shining trim but still delicate, shoot up in the fields . . ."; Falling, as if diving from a high cliff into the sea, but sprouting wings midway down to make a gentle landing. "Venus's doves"

III. The Right Measure of Opposites
"Moisture–water"; "Chaos–fire"; "Warmth"; "Like the age of childhood"; "Emergence"; "Formula for creation–the combination of the right measure of opposites"

IV. Phaeton Reaches for the Speed of Light
A spectrum of poignant moments rings in the bell of the sun. Phaeton begins driving the car of the sun. Melody of longing for the speed of light; Phaeton transforms into the photons of light . . .; Phaeton's sisters become a forest of needless mourning. Amber tears shed into Eridanus's shining water.; The arrow of time denies mother Clymene the sisters' bodies constrained in their form as trees. The amber tears are jewels of jubilation for the innocents discovering them after.; Freed from remorse, humanity ascends on wings of exultation, reborn from the blood of contemptuous giants.

V. Daphne Nods in Consent
throughout . . . having fled the healer . . . struck by Cupid's lead–tipped arrow . . . remembered by the laurel . . . never fading foliage . . . as a tree nodding in consent . . . contemplating gravity . . . distracted by Io's letters written in the dust.

VI. Argus's Eyes See the Code of Small and Large
The theory of multiple, independent spaces; The inevitability of apparent symmetries in the laws of nature; Argus's one hundred eyes are placed on the tail of a bird.

VII. Callisto and Arcas in the Stars
stillness, ascending; unfolding showers of points of light; growing up as constellations; Why do the molecules wish to replicate themselves? The philosophers are stopped in their tracks.

VIII. The Cost of the Gift of Prophecy–Ocyrhoe's Forfeiture
Time as the result of space in motion; You can travel, but you can't take your frame of reference with you.

IX. Raven's Wings Telling Tales
Pythagoras thinks, "Time itself flows on with constant motion." ". . . so the moments of time at once flee and follow, and are ever new." Nyctimene's lament; "Comping" as transformation solo against imaginary, florid lines in harmonics too high to hear; Time as reflection–reverberation between two mirrors; Time as discontinuous; The eagle carries Jove's thunderbolt; Growing resonance; Time the devourer; The raven's wings were turned black for telling tales about time.

X. Hymn of Change
"The phrase 'being born' is used . . . for beginning to be something different . . . from what one was before, . . . while 'dying' means . . . ceasing to be the same. Though this thing . . . may pass into that, . . . and that into this, . . . yet the sum of things . . . remains unchanged."

XI. Transformation Canon–For Pythagoras
Pythagorus continues to lecture on change and flux in nature while the anthropocentric myths assuage human frailties.

XII. Coda–The Past is Determined by the Impermanence of Perfect Memory
"All these creatures, however, derive their origin from something other than themselves. There is one living thing, a bird, which reproduces and regenerates itself, without any outside aid. The Assyrians call it the phoenix."

Acknowledgments and Dedication
I am deeply indebted to my life–long friend and musical colleague, Katrina Krimsky, for requesting and, indeed, urging that this work be composed and for the great efforts she devoted toward helping me bring it to completion and preparing its premier. Both Katrina Krimsky and composer, Steven Hoey, assisted me in preparing the printed score and Steven Hoey helped realize some of the music in movement IX from the harmonic and rhythmic schemes in my sketches.

This music is lovingly dedicated to the memory of Evelyn Marie Smith Humbert, whose wisdom and repose in life were a guiding light and in whose presence an initial version of the Hymn of Change was first written in 1992.

David Rosenboom Publishing (BMI)