Date of Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
“Get hold of portable property!” says one of the great Dickens characters in Great Expectations. The notion of “portable property” strikes me as deeply analogous to that of pieces of art, which are their creators’ “properties” exported to anyone who will take hold of them. Some of my most valued possessions are the portable properties handed down to me by musicians, painters, writers—most of whom I have never met.
Often it is one specific aspect of an artwork that makes it important to me. Several months ago I was struck by how the ethereal coda (actually, the cadenza) of Elgar’s Violin Concerto simply stops the “music” of the piece, leaving the listener with just…music. The “redeemed” codas found in Bruckner’s symphonies similarly affect me as a listener, in their orchestration of the musical dust as it settles. These endings resonated in my head with that of the Dickens novel quoted above, in which an older, wiser Dickens even admits to not knowing how the story ends by writing his own divergent “codas.” Great Expectations has been a treasured “portable property” to me personally, and continues to haunt and humble me, as it did particularly while writing this piece.
The Old Forge at Satis House is thus a welding of many “portable properties,” but in my mind at least, it is foremost a musical pondering of Dickens’s marshes and forges, and what they reveal about the difference between “great expectations” and great satisfaction.
v, 109 pages
Copyright © 2017 Jared William Hedges