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Image: Young man at beach at sunrise by Mohammad Ali Mohtasham. Unsplash: Photos for everyone.

 

This composition of “The Completion Sonata” is in four movements.

I shall tell this story from two angles – a 19th century angle on the left and a 21st angle on the right.

 

19th Century

21th Century

“The Brink of the White Rock”

The first movement is based on a famous and sad Irish song that goes like this: (translated from Irish by https://lyricstranslate.com)

The edge of the White Rock
To the west by a river, with no lie, with no doubt
Is the quiet tender gentle girl
And her skin is fairer than the swan on the wave
From the top of her head to the soles of her shoes.
She is the stately woman that broke my heart
And she left my mind sorrowful
And a cure can never be found by me
Since my fair love refused me.

I deem it better than great Ireland,
Than the king of Spain's riches
That you and I should be in a beautiful place
In woods far away from our friends
Oh you and I to be wed, love,
With the blessing of father and mother
Oh young maiden with the sweetest kiss
You're the sun of the White Rock

Oh fair-haired handsome woman, if my fate is that you be mine
You will wear gear that would please your friends
between silk and hats, from head to toe,
And the best of everything in the city
Your cattle will be driven home every evening
And the bees of your green fields will hum sweetly,
You will have gold and a coach to bring you
To the edge of the White Rock.”

The singer laments a woman who had never accepted him when she was still alive. Now she is dead in the sand below on the beach.

It breaks his heart. He consoles himself with the thought that now she will surely accept his love, now that she is in heaven.

There he will give her all of what he has. He will drive her in a golden carriage to the edge of this great white rock. And here they shall celebrate their love together.

This will be their Real Completion, at the edge of this White Rock.

“Rejection and a Plan”

Our version of the first movement is a new rendition of the same melody at left, without lyrics.

 

For this I go deep into my inner world.

There I feel and think of a very old dream, a dream that I have had as long as I remember.

Tears come to my eyes, if I permit them.

I am thinking, and I am remembering... oh, yes...

I have had this dream for, oh so long...

(Second movement)

Change of scene.

This time they are married. She has accepted him, and he has accepted her. They love each other enormously, as only two young lovers can.

However, the elements around them are still ranged against them.

We are at the time of the 1847 potato famine. They live in a lovely site in Skibbereen, in southern Ireland, but a rebellion is raging. The young couple with a young son cannot pay their rent. They have asked the landlord for a temporary relief. But no help has been granted and they are left in raw despair.

“Pleas and Rejection”

In my second movement (of an original composition) I am reliving my deepest dream.

In this movement I take my dream a step further.

I have seen so much, and I have received a great deal of what I have wanted in life.

But there still remains this very precious wish.

It is the most important wish I have, from the bottom of my heart.

I am asking in this movement, “can I now have my dearest wish?”

I ask, and I ask once more, “will my wish be granted this time?”

“Skibbereen”

Third movement.

“No” is the answer, and the story gets still worse:

“The landlord and the sheriff came to take us all away.
They set my roof on fire with their cursed English spleen.”

Worse yet, his beloved wife died in view of all that despair.

“I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear old Skibbereen.”

Here is the entire text of “Skibbereen”:

Oh father dear, I oft-times hear you speak of Erin's isle
Her lofty hills, her valleys green, her mountains rude and wild
They say she is a lovely land wherein a saint might dwell
So why did you abandon her, the reason to me tell.

Oh son, I loved my native land with energy and pride
Till a blight came o'er the praties; my sheep, my cattle died
My rent and taxes went unpaid, I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason why I left old Skibbereen.

Oh well do I remember that bleak December day
The landlord and the sheriff came to take us all away
They set my roof on fire with their cursed English spleen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear old Skibbereen.

Your mother too, God rest her soul, fell on the stony ground
She fainted in her anguish seeing desolation 'round
She never rose but passed away from life to immortal dream
She found a quiet grave, me boy, in dear old Skibbereen.

And you were only two years old and feeble was your frame
I could not leave you with my friends for you bore your father's name
I wrapped you in my cóta mór in the dead of night unseen
I heaved a sigh and bade goodbye to dear old Skibbereen.

Oh father dear, the day will come when in answer to the call
All Irish men of freedom stern will rally one and all
I'll be the man to lead the band beneath the flag of green
And loud and clear we'll raise the cheer, Revenge for Skibbereen!”


Image: Skibbereen 1847 by Cork artist James Mahony (1810–1879), commissioned by Illustrated London News 1847. Wikipedia.

“Struggling and Succeeding at Last”

Third movement.

 

But the answer is “no!”

I am refused again. There is no pity!

I must live through yet more turmoil.

I labour away and I suffer, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Sometimes I forget my dream entirely, and years go by, and I barely notice that they have flown by.

But at the end, what a surprise!

 Joy finally appears in view!

“The Princess Royal” a/k/a "Miss MacDermott" a/k/a "The Arethusa"

Fourth Movement

In this last movement, we are a few years later. The father from Skibbereen and their little son have landed in a far-off country.

They were well received. Their pain has diminished, and most of their anger is now gone.

Left is a hollow sadness and recurring pangs of home sickness. Things will never be what they had hoped for at the start.

But they are grateful to have new friends around them, and that brings new hope and joys for future days.

Image: Turlough O'Carolan 1670 – 1738. Well-known blind Irish harper, with 214 known compositions. Wikipedia.

“Completion in View”

I adapted this classic Irish tune into my fourth movement.

Finally, joy is at the horizon.

Is it really true?

It satisfies my most precious wish, the one I kept so long in my deepest dreams.

After all the turmoil, I can now celebrate my inner completion with this tune.

 

The base of this movement is one of the most famous of Turlough O'Carolan's melodies, dating from the early 18th century.

O'Carolan's tune is a fitting closing to this sonata.

According to Wikipedia, “After being blinded by smallpox at the age of eighteen, Carolan was apprenticed by Mrs. MacDermott Roe to [be] a good harper. At the age of twenty-one, being given a horse and a guide, he set out to travel Ireland and compose songs for patrons.”

True completion can come in many ways, and when it arrives at last, let us celebrate it, just as it comes to us.

 

 

This composition is dedicated to all who wish for a second chance and their real completion, at their own White Rock, or at Skibbereen, or at their new home, wherever that may be.

 

Entire Sonata in G -- “The Completion Sonata”

 

Individual movements

 

MIDI and Music Sheets

https://erickeller.ch/index.php/download