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Hermann Hesse's Nobel-Prize winning novel The Glass Bead Game takes place centuries from now in a post-nuclear-Apocalypse future. It is the story of a brotherhood of artist-scholars who preserve and celebrate the cultural achievements of their distant past, by immersing themselves in a multidisciplinary exercise called The Glass Bead Game. In the Game, ideas themselves are the playing pieces. The Game calls upon calligraphy, poetry, alchemy, theology, mathematics, music, and, as Hesse put it, "a capacity for universality rising above all the disciplines." The novel makes clear, however, that a novice's introduction to the life of the Game is through music
Track 1: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 1 in C, BWV 772
Track 2: I. Duo, Op. 7: I. Allegro serioso, non troppo
Track 3: II. Duo, Op. 7: II. Adagio
Track 4: III. Duo, Op. 7: III. Maestoso e largamenete ma non troppo lento-Presto
Track 5: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 7 in e, BWV 778
Track 6: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 13 in A minor, BWV 784
Tommaso Giordani: Duetto II:
Track 7: I. Allegro moderato
Track 8: II. Tempo di Minuetto
Track 9: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 9 in F minor, BWV 780
Track 10: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 10 in G major, BWV 781
Bohuslav Martinu: Duo for Violin and Violoncello:
Track 11: I. Preludium: Andante moderato
Track 12: II Rondo: Allegro con brio
Track 13: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 6 in E major, BWV 777
Track 14: J.S. Bach: Invention No. 3 in D major, BWV 774
Track 15: G.F. Handel: Passacaglia, from Suite No. 7 in G minor, arranged by Johan Halvorsen
1998 The Absolute Sound® Golden Ear Award
Fanfare® Best-of-1998 List
1998 Indie® Award Nominee
This is a stupendous recording of violin and cello in a good-sized hall,possibly the most luscious recording of acoustic music I've heard in several years. The third movement of the Kodály Duo provides some heart-stoppingly beautiful moments. If you care about music and want to hear how well science can serve art, you need to listen to this one.
Wes Phillips, Stereophile
Inspired by Hermann Hesse's novel, this collection of diverse works for the splendid but seldom-heard combination of violin and cello is designed to be heard as a single, integrated musical experience. Duets by Zoltan Kodaly, Tommaso Giordani and Bohuslav Martinu are given impassioned performances by violinist Arturo Delmoni and cellist Nathaniel Rosen, with arrangements of Bach's Two-Part Inventions strung between them for contrast and the Passacaglia from Handel's Suite No. 7 as a concluding statement.
Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post
"[A]chieves universality without the trauma of nuclear annihilation."
This is no New Age CD designed to facilitate an aromatherapy session. Instead, its a surprisingly effective, eclectic collection
the utmost in musicality
[F]or sheer attractiveness as well as intriguingly different programming its hard to beat..
T.J. Medrek, Jr., The Boston TAB
Audiophilia.com A readable, common-sense e-zine for audiophiles and music lovers.
Classical.net The definitive source on the net for classical music information and opinions.
Dave's J. S. Bach Page Astonishingly complete J.S. Bach coverage, but without being stuffy -- it's hip, and a labor of love.
Corewave.com One approach to playing the Game on the Internet. Intriguing -- you may find yourself joining in.
Charles Cameron's Hipbone Games' Glass Bead Game Site The Game and game theory, from a true master.
Gail Sullivan's Glass Bead Game Site New to the Game? This is a great place to start.
Nobel Prize in Literature, 1946
The Empire of the Senses A site that tries for a real Hesse look and feel.
The Hermann Hesse Homepage A very complete, academically oriented site.
Hesse and Art in the Modern World A thoughtful essay.
Carol Gerten-Jacksons Burne-Jones page A lovely site with great reproductionsbut please read the rules on the home page before you download or link!
The Stained-Glass Windows at Saint Marys Pre-Raphaelite windows by Burne-Jones and William Morris.
Ophelias Mirror: A Gallery of Pre-Raphaelite Art A very nice selection of images.
The Rossetti Archive A work in progress, but worth visiting.
Bohuslav Martinü Foundation, Prague Honoring the great Czech composer.
Classical Music Pages: Zoltan Kodály I am informed that his name is pronounced "KO-dye."
The Christian Science Monitors Singing the Praises of Early Musical Training has contact information for Kodály education and other resources.
Classical.nets Handel Page Collects Handel information and links.
Nathaniel Rosen interviewed by the Internet Cello Society. Outspoken and provocative!
The Glass Bead Game is a very large handful! Fifty years after this masterpiece was written, we have not even begun to come to grips with the social problems that Hesse clearly predicted the "Information Age" would bring with it.
Hesses "novel" is actually a collection of five different documents, which are meant to appear to come from the distant future. The "perceptual lens" of the novel is set somewhere about the year 2500; the bulk of the material (the introduction and the biography) looks back from around the year 2500 to about the year 2300. The last three parts of the book are supposed to be themselves imaginative fiction written (by the fictional subject of the biography) in about the year 2300 (all estimates on my part).
The first part of the book is "The Glass Bead Game: A General Introduction to its History for the Layman," which is a slightly pedantic and pompous history lesson. The next part is a sensitive, sympathetic, and engrossing biography of a Glass Bead Game master, Joseph Knecht, known as Magister Ludi, written some years after his death. The last three parts of the book are "imaginary lives" that Knecht had to write as part of his training for the Game. Hesse certainly created a complete fictive universe.
The premise of the book is that at the end of the 20th century, mankind nearly destroyed all civilization with nuclear weapons. Europe slowly redeveloped to a sort of neo-feudalism, somewhat less concerned with regaining technological prowess than in making sure that nationalistic and totalitarian impulses do not lead to a repetition of nuclear war.
The Glass Bead Game, which actually does not use glass beads, that would be too obvious, is an intellectual exercise designed to ensure that knowledge does not compartmentalize into self-limited fields.
The Game is the birthright of the province of Castalia, sort of an intellectual Switzerland. Families from other states send their sons to Castalia for the education. Most return home; a few stay to devote their lives to the Game and to education. There is a persuasive medieval feeling to the book, and I am sure that Hesse was inspired by the history of the great European universities.
As mentioned in our CDs liner notes, music is an important part of the education in Castalia, and an important part of the Glass Bead Game. Not surprisingly, given Hesses background, in the 26th century, Bach is apparently still regarded as the supreme master of intellectually challenging music. Bach is young Joseph Knechts introduction to music, and Bach is the jumping-off point for the Game that is our CD.
The "play" of the Game itself is difficult to describe, and Hesses novel is not entirely clear on the finer points. And this is rightly so, because the novel is not really about the Game; the novel uses a setting and certain characters to examine the life of the mind in personal development and in society, amid the conflicting demands and impulses of self-sufficiency and community, acquisition and renunciation, action and reflection, and so on.
In this masterful novel, Hesse predicted - more than 50 years ago - that an "information culture" would confer status only in exchange for obedience to its agenda. Hesse also predicted that an information culture would by its very nature become elitist, to the point of refining itself into irrelevance. That is why Hesses hero quits the Game - to engage himself in life, instead of an intellectual abstraction of life - and that is the real message of the book. Reading this book is very much worth an investment of your time and thought, as we look upon our own society, where some people have direct ISDN access to the internet, yet others cant read.
The Game as described in the novel is somewhat like a debating tournament that includes music, mathematics, and calligraphy. The goal is to elucidate new connections among cultural disciplines. To make up an example: your move is to draw the alchemical symbol for iron. I respond by alluding to a Cézanne painting showing red earth. You then quote from Genesis (Adam = red earth in Hebrew). I respond with the Cowboy Junkies "To Love is to Bury." To get more of an idea, youll have to read the book.
I decided to structure Delmoni and Rosens long-awaited duo recital recording around the Glass Bead Game in order to widen the audience for the important but under-appreciated chamber-music repertory for violin-cello duo. The connection to Hesses novel is entirely legitimate. The selection and sequence of pieces on the CD is meant to follow the path of a Game that keeps returning to Bach. And, as critics have pointed out, the concluding Passacaglia recapitulates the entire program.