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MP3 Cynthia Sternau - Iconography

A layered piano cycle exploring twelve spiritual icons. “Iconography” is a compilation of the opening section of each of 12 Icons—the full cycle is more than 8 hours long. The First Icon explores the key of C...

1 MP3 Songs in this album (44:02) !
Related styles: NEW AGE: Neo-Classical, NEW AGE: Healing

About The Twelve Icons

The Twelve Icons cycle was composed in twelve consecutive weeks, beginning in mid-November 1993 and ending in late February 1994. I was “given” the symbols/icons before starting the cycle, together with very specific instructions for its creation, which took place one week at a time, with three sessions per week, entirely by candlelight. Sometimes I was able to invite friends to witness the act of composition. My tools were a digital piano and a hardware sequencer (for recording in MIDI, “Musical Instrument Digital Interface,” a protocol for communication between synthesizers and computers). The multi-track piano sequences were subsequently transferred to a Macintosh-platform software sequencer. They have not been edited.

This is an “ascension” cycle, with each Icon exploring the essence of a single musical key, beginning in C with The First Icon and continuing in half-steps through to B, The Twelfth Icon. Each Icon has twelve parts within its core symbol. These I call “elements.” The first six elements, composed in the first session of the week, form a set of working definitions for the Icon. The following three elements are a set of examples, employing and developing the definitions. The final three elements offer a complex, fully-integrated understanding of the Icon expressed in music. At the time of creating this cycle, I was moving from improvisational jazz, and its concurrent patterns, to the precursor of the melodic, symphonic forms I currently use. There are some motifs from The Twelve Icons that reoccur throughout my work, and the cycle has provided me with a musical/emotional/spiritual frame for the music that follows.

How to interpret this work within a single Icon? Consider that each Icon takes a spiritual symbol/concept and renders it into music. So: The Cosmic Tree (medieval icon, roots on earth, leaves touching Heaven, symbolic of the One and the earth united in harmony): it dreams; in it all life flows; how does it greet the morning?; how does it appear on the outside?; sensing inside the Cosmic Tree; linking--it joins Heaven and Earth; in it are power, heat and light. It drinks from the eternal skyrain; so then it leafs; it is one with both worlds.
—Cynthia Sternau

Iconography of The Twelve Icons:

The First Icon ~ The Cosmic Tree [C]
1~Dreaming; 2~Flowing; 3~Morning; 4~Outside; 5~Inside; 6~Linking; 7~Power; 8~Heat; 9~Light#1; 10~Skyrain 11~Leaves; 12~Earth

The Second Icon ~ Sunlight [C#]
1~Sunbeam; 2~Moonbeam; 3~Spring; 4~Summer; 5~Fall ; 6~Winter; 7~Idea; 8~Shape; 9~Art; 10~Sharing 11~Augment; 12~Whole

The Third Icon ~ Godlight [D]
1~Presence; 2~Balance; 3~Glow; 4~Purple; 5~Rainbow; 6~Golden; 7~Promise; 8~Knowledge#1; 9~Faith; 10~Joy 11~Merging; 12~One

The Fourth Icon ~ Healing Light [Eb]
1~Gift; 2~Need; 3~Sensing; 4~Moving; 5~Touching; 6~Healing; 7~Life; 8~Death; 9~Transform; 10~Choice; 11~Destiny; 12~Return

The Fifth Icon ~ Human Life [E]
1~Individual; 2~Collective; 3~Provide; 4~Cultivate; 5~Build; 6~Judge; 7~Awareness; 8~Intelligence; 9~Synthesis; 10~Archology; 11~Ecology; 12~Macrocosm

The Sixth Icon ~ Awakening [F]
1~Vision; 2~Action; 3~Emergence; 4~Learning; 5~Growth; 6~Creation; 7~Responsibility; 8~Empowerment; 9~Evolution; 10~Community; 11~Purpose; 12~Unity#1

The Seventh Icon ~ The Earth in the Cosmos [F#]
1~Sphere; 2~Orbit; 3~Sun; 4~Moon; 5~Stars; 6~Space; 7~Plantanimal; 8~Human; 9~Alien; 10~Seed; 11~Shoot; 12~Flower

The Eighth Icon ~ Love [G]
1~Recognition; 2~Passion; 3~Look; 4~Touch; 5~Embrace; 6~Enter; 7~Fire; 8~Ice; 9~Ember; 10~One#2; 11~Two; 12~Three

The Ninth Icon ~ The Lake of Calm [Ab]
1~Reflection; 2~Waveform; 3~Ripples; 4~Windtouch; 5~Foamspray; 6~Stormwatch; 7~Liquidmass; 8~Solidbody; 9~Balance; 10~Stilltime; 11~Quietworld; 12~Allpeace

The Tenth Icon ~ The Wheel [A]
1~Portal; 2~Spin; 3~Pathway; 4~Knowledge#2; 5~Prophecy ; 6~Guide; 7~Body; 8~Mind; 9~Soul; 10~Energy 11~Entity; 12~Unity#2

The Eleventh Icon ~ The Flame [Bb]
1~Light#2; 2~Door; 3~Change; 4~Open; 5~Gold; 6~Cosmic Energy; 7~Magic; 8~Reality; 9~Synergy; 10~Godspirit; 11~One#3; 12~Trinity

The Twelfth Icon ~ The Egg [B]
1~Vessel 2~Force; 3~Summon; 4~Fill; 5~Empower; 6~Send; 7~Creator; 8~Keeper; 9~Allthatis; 10~Light#3; 11~Knowledge#3; 12~Unity#3

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