for solo piano (2012)






Program Notes

The title, Kenosis, is the Greek term for emptying oneself. In a Christian context it reflects the process of removing oneself as a hindrance to the purposes God has for us so God can complete the work he has begun. It is the process of humbling oneself before God, removing the ego, and being transformed into the likeness of Christ. The piece has seven sections and I’m doing a couple of things. I’m exploring the process of moving from harshness and complexity to simplicity and sweetness (a kenosis of the music, if you will). It alternates fast and aggressive sections with slower and peaceful until ultimate meditation and reflection of Christ is attained (sanctification). It’s a process.

More than that I’m exploring temporal relations and the perception of time. Some research has been done that shows how the human brain perceives faster and more active music as taking more time than it actually does. Conversely, slow and meditative music is perceived as taking less time. Kenosis, therefore, is proportioned according to a time scale that moves from long to brief to longer again in an arch form.

Kenosis was commissioned by Jeffrey Manchur.

—Garrett Hope May, 2012 Trappe, PA


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