Michael J. Evans composer
Karolina Rojahn piano
Kyle Milner spoken word
Oftentimes in our technology-driven global society, words can become obscured in meanings and associations depending on how they are interpreted or translated. On the other hand, music in its abstraction often can prompt more concrete interpretations. Composer Michael J. Evans explores the relationships between words, music, and meaning on his latest release on Navona Records, CIPHER.
A spoken word excerpt from Felix Mendelssohn, which has been translated several times from English to another language and back again, introduces the work and comments on the inadequacy of words as a means of expression compared to music. The words fade into a section of theme and variations, where the theme is borrowed from one of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words. For Evans, the form of theme and variations is “an exploration of unrealized potential or futures of an idea or theme.” Throughout the variations, Evans makes references to Bach, Scott Joplin, Satie, Chopin, Debussy, and others, illustrating how an idea can be translated differently through the voices of various composers. The third section of the piece is a fugue, symbolizing the journey of the Wounded Healer, a Jungian archetype. By presenting a sometimes violent contest against a three-note figure and a two-note figure, Evans illustrates a type of “otherness,” ending in the three-note figure’s journey to a rebirth realized through pain and oppression.