Notes by TŌN violist Scot Moore
Frank Martin took the text for this piece from the play Jedermann by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who himself adapted and staged concepts from the 15th century morality play The Summoning of Everyman. Hofmannsthal’s setting tells the story of a wealthy man who is confronted by Death. He’s given the choice to escape with nothing or bring along some of his possessions and servants. During his journey through the six states of the soul his servants ultimately desert him, he loses his money, and gradually detaches from his material goods to ascend to the world of the spirit. Jedermann is an allegorical cautionary tale warning all people that redemption can only be achieved by good works and faith.
Musically, this will be exciting to discover. It’s a pretty dark, emotionally-charged tale, but it’s also quite beautiful. As Jedermann goes through the struggle of realizing his own mortality, we players are confronted by various characters woven in and out of the story. Frank Martin’s setting of the tale in six monologues is backed by a wide range of our orchestral sound palette, which provides an almost cinematic accompaniment to this tale of woe and redemption.