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NEW WORK: Henousia Cantata for solo soprano, electronics and chamber orchestra

Henousia Cantata is titled with the word Henousia (Ενουσία) as a compound word of two Greek words (‘Hen’ from ‘Henosis’ (Ενόσις, “Union”) and ‘Ousia’ (Ουσία, “Substance”)). Hence, Henousia Cantata surveys notions surrounding a unifying substance to music, art, ethics and reality itself. To explore such concepts, a narrative was constructed where the Solo Soprano begins to contemplate the nature of ‘goodness’, and what exactly ‘goodness’ is. In exploring the nature of ‘goodness’ the Soprano tours philosophical and theological traditions of metaphysics, ethics, relativism. The lyrics takes inspiration from various philosophical texts, such as Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Spinoza’s Ethics in its original Latin, and The New Testament in original Koine Greek. The Greek passages were transcribed using the Latin script phonetically for Anglophonic readability. To present more emphatic continuity between the philosophical traditions of these texts, verses from The New Testament was modified to include terminology found in the works of the Hellenistic philosopher Plotinus (204/5-270 CE), specifically replacing “Theos” (Θέος, God) with the term “ To En” (Το Εν, The One). This was done for two reasons: first, since Klear’s faith is not expressively and emphatically ‘Christian’ in the typical sense, and he decided that a philosophical notion as purported by a philosopher who flourished at the same time as Christianity’s development felt more genuine to his interests in philosophy and religion.

Secondly, reference to Plotinus acts as a means of showing a continuous thread of philosophical traditions from Aristotle to Spinoza, since it was Plotinus’ specific philosophy of ‘The One’ which had an enormous impact on early and later Christian understandings of the Divine, the Transcendental and how to achieve union with it. Musically, the work employs lush textures and extended harmonies to reinforce a sense of mysticism and to reflect the wondrous endeavour of the Soprano, as well as chaotic and tense sections that act as attacks of doubt, questionability and insecurity when faced with unanswerable questions. The middle section of the work includes chant-like melodies and harmonies of the Greek Orthodox/Byzantine tradition to express the theological concepts explored. Finally, the Soprano comes to the existential conclusion that goodness is what is desired, precisely because it IS desired, and this resolution manifests in the music as a gigantic climax that rounds the work to a complete and content end.

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