Narziss und Goldmund for two pianos

The composition of Narziss und Goldmund was inspired by the two main characters and the philosophical underpinning found in the novel of the same name by Herman Hesse. First published in 1930 and set in medieval Germany, Narziss is a teacher at a monastery school who befriends a bright student there, Goldmund. As the novel unfolds, we come to see that Narziss – a structured and stable monk – reflects an Apollonian spirit of science and the mind. Over the course of the story, Goldmund learns through self-reflection he was not meant to become a monk, and instead develops into an explorer of life’s experiences through love and art, a more Dionysian approach. The two movements of Narziss und Goldmund are designed to echo these two contrasting personae.

Heather and Felicity Coltman perform "Narziss" at Florida Atlantic University, 2016

Heather and Felicity Coltman perform Narziss und Goldmund at Florida Atlantic University, July 2016

First composed in 1983 and then edited in 2015, this composition was premiered by Deborah Jamini and Sue Ellen Moncrief on 19 April 1984 at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. It is dedicated to the pianist Heather Coltman.

In 1993, while teaching in St. Petersburg, Russia, I arranged and re-composed this work for wind symphony, changing its title to Janus.

An extended program note and analysis of Narziss und Goldmund may be viewed below.

two pianos
Date completed:
1983, 2015
ca. 6:30

I. Narziss

II. Goldmund

PDF Score:
Narziss und Goldmund - program note and analysis

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