Grace

Concerto in 3 movements for two marimbas and orchestra

I. Pendula and the Center of Gravity
(The Puppet Theatre)

II. Of the Heaviness of Matter
(Only a god is a match for matter)

III. Grace Will Return
(Most purely in a puppet or a god)

Instrumentation:
solo Marimba I
solo Marimba II
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets
2 Bassoons
2 Horns
Strings

Video Interview with Martin Bresnick about Grace

Grace is a musical meditation on Heinrich von Kleist's brief essay "The Puppet Theatre". In the essay two friends meeting in a public park discuss the concept of grace as suggested by a simple puppet show. During their conversation they observe, among other ideas, how easy it is to lose grace and what should be done to find it again:

"I am well aware of the damage done by consciousness to the natural grace of a human being. A young man of my acquaintance lost his innocence by a chance remark before my very eyes, and afterwards, despite making every conceivable effort, never regained that paradise."

"Such mistakes have been unavoidable ever since we ate of the Tree of Knowledge. But Paradise is locked and barred and the cherub is behind us. We shall have to go all the way around the world and see whether it might be open again somewhere at the back. For just as two lines intersecting at a point then passing through infinity will suddenly come together again on the other side, so when consciousness has passed through an infinity grace will return. Grace will be most purely present in the human frame that has either no consciousness at all or an infinite amount of it, which is to say either in a puppet or in a god.

"But should we have to eat again of the Tree of Knowledge to fall back into the state of innocence?"

"Indeed, that is the final chapter of the history of the world."

To Eloise M. Morgan, a person who has graced our lives.

GRACE was commissioned by Ronald H. Martin, Jr. for his grandmother and
written for marimbist Robert Van Sice.