Temptation Music

for mixed septet

Kevin Malone

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for mixed septet

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Composer Kevin Malone
Year of Composition 1988
Duration ca.18'
ISMN 9790570682447
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-km1tm1


In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story Young Goodman Brown, a 17thC man is visited by Satan during his walks through the forest of his colonial village’s settlement. Satan’s intervention leads the man to doubt the integrity of his fellow townsmen and the worthiness of his life.

n 1988, drawing on the story’s dark atmosphere, I completed Temptation Music for three wind musicians, three string musicians and one percussionist who plays over a dozen instruments.

I choose the standard structure of a Bach cello suite – prelude, allemande, courante, sarabande, an intermezzo or two, and gigue – as a kind of analogy with the phases of Goodman Brown’s anxiety-induced paranoia and Stan’s intriguing offer to join his forest cult. It is also an analogy to the puritanical strictness of some late 17thC American settlements and their expectations and pervasive judgmental control over its citizens. These analogies provided some musical images of betrayal, fear and ultimately doom consumed Goodman Brown.

Temptation Music was premiered by Jane’s Minstrels at the Almeida Theatre London on 16 February 1991.