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Sketch No. 100


Monarcheon
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For my sketches project, I asked friends to give me material for inspiration. The following poem was one of the responses and I adapted in the best I could into piano form.

The space between my bones and the air feels too big

In this speculum there are only shards of shame to pierce me and to compress me

Until I can fit the mold of perfection

With each failure I can feel the whirlpool churning me up and spitting me back into its grave

In this casket I will be filled with the balm of perfection

To decrease the difference between me and that unattainable god

Drinking life and purging sustenance to keep running away and to become the master of failure, until I can control my own flesh

In my vortex of thoughts all that are left are dismembered memories of those battles I’ve waged

And never won

I have sacrificed my organs and veins to the gods above for achievement

And still can never win

This stalemate for perfection has left my skin rubbed raw with obsession

Scrubbing away the blemishes that go as deep as my numerous sins

The scars etched in my mind no longer leave any terrain whole

My temple demolished in my quest for flawlessness

And these lifelines in my palms are fading too fast for me to bring back my heart

I’m trapped in a prison of desperation

Of escaping from failure but into the fire of evolutionary relentless times

I am bound by serrated bindings of always trying to be better, to be the best

For the sake of my hell

I am evaporating for wisdom

So that my fortune can bring me back to my cavern of dead dreams waterlogged with failure

I am tired

Of praying to the enlightened

And hoping for brilliance

And shaving off life to make me more clever

I am too flawed to please this jury of mirrors

And I am exhausted from running into the looking glass and seeing too much and yet not enough

I have put labels on happiness and deemed them unimportant

Chosen discipline as my scythe to carve out my smile

This shroud I have decided upon is my emaciated love

Devoid of imagination for the cruel shape of perfection

High expectations have created a ladder that extends past the limits of the universe

And too many rungs are broken for me to claw my way up

And I’m too afraid of the fall that would shatter the safety of at least being above the sea of despair

I am clinging to splinters and twigs of ideal

If only I could scald away the fear of mediocrity

Expunge the masochist and assuage the fragments that might lead to happiness

From before the paralysiss of not being good enough rooted me,

Deer in the headlights,

Frozen in the icy pursuit of perfection.

 

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Did you have to follow rules for these sketches? Or did you impose any on yourself? Why did you restrict yourself to piano, for example? I couldn't tell if the poem was used as a catalyst for your inspiration or was it supposed to be a literal interpretation. The poem is quite grim and dark. I would have treated it as such. But your music was anything but. Using a refined sort of pan-diatonicism, you painted a very meditative work, almost Prozac-like in its even keel, possibly Japanese sand garden. I think the changing time signatures were effective and easy to follow, and I especially like bar 31, where you slowed the tempo by going from 8th notes to quarter note triplets, an effective technique.

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Dig it, this is beautiful. Whether it fits the poetic style or note depends on perspective, and I think I see where you're coming from for it.

Notation: Why notate the introduction in A Major? You altered most of the G#'s anyway, so why not write the whole piece in D Major and add the G# accidentals where you want them? There may be a theory reason that I'm missing. Also as a performer I'd understand what you were going for with the written ritard. at the end, why notate it specifically instead of instructing a poco molto. rit.?

Again, really beautiful work.

Gustav Johnson

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On 1/20/2017 at 5:10 PM, Ken320 said:

Why did you restrict yourself to piano, for example?

Sometimes I don't really have time to do a chamber piece or orchestral and need to do the best I can with the time I do have. 

On 1/20/2017 at 5:10 PM, Ken320 said:

The poem is quite grim and dark. I would have treated it as such.

I viewed, indeed, as a catalyst for the end work. The ending is more programmatic, yes, and I would say that the rest of the piece was based on the ending.

On 1/20/2017 at 5:10 PM, Ken320 said:

Using a refined sort of pan-diatonicism, you painted a very meditative work, almost Prozac-like in its even keel, possibly Japanese sand garden. I think the changing time signatures were effective and easy to follow, and I especially like bar 31, where you slowed the tempo by going from 8th notes to quarter note triplets, an effective technique.

Thank you so much! :)

13 hours ago, Gustav Johnson said:

Why notate the introduction in A Major?

It's a result of my guideline of not going back to edit things if I was sure-set in them in the first place. I intended to start in D lydian, but changed my mind and only changed the key later.

13 hours ago, Gustav Johnson said:

at the end, why notate it specifically instead of instructing a poco molto. rit.?

Mostly because there's an offset to the normal pattern where the rhythm speeds up again as a flame dying out. Better to keep it as straight as possible.

13 hours ago, Gustav Johnson said:

Again, really beautiful work.

:) Thank you!

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