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A Monody of Gerhard Richter

for solo piano​

In poetry, monody refers to a poem where one person laments another’s death. While I did not intend for this piece to be overly lugubrious, it can be a touching reminder of changes that happen when a large hole in our life appears, caused by a death. In music, monody refers to a single line of melody with some form of accompaniment. This specifically applies to 17th century Italian song, which eventually evolved into madrigals and motets. Monodic music is intended to convey either negative or positive emotion.

This work is based upon my personal reactions and thoughts when I viewed a particular set of paintings by Gerhard Richter. These paintings were conceived after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989. They are named after the months they were painted during, namely November, December, and January. Richter painted this trio of diptychs using rubber spatulas to apply the paints, and in doing so, scraped off previous layers while adding new colors. In addition, these paintings are quite large: roughly 10’ x 13’. This gives these paintings a depth and scale which cannot be expressed in the pictures above.

Although the overarching mood after the fall of the Berlin Wall was that of celebration, these paintings are dark and multifaceted. They spoke to me in a personal transitioning period, which I believe is the reason I connected so much to these works. Rather than trying to evoke the emotions of Richter, which I could not begin to fathom, I attempted to convey my own feelings through the conceptualization and composition of this piece. The performer also plays a large role in the realization and interpretation of this piece. The lack of rigid meters, bar lines, and programmatic timeline intentionally suggest that the performer create their own vision and interpretation of the music. It intentionally forces many different views and translations of the concept of personal transformation.
                                                                                                                                  Cory Brodack
                                                                                                                               December 2017

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