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Visconti Sforza Tarot Cards, opus 66 ... Twenty Two Salon Pieces For Two Pianos (1996) 19 La Luna

By Thomas Oboe Lee

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Piano Duet - Digital Download
Composed by Thomas Oboe Lee. 21st Century, 20th Century, Romantic Period, Classical Period, Baroque Period. Score. 4 pages. Published by Thomas Oboe Lee (S0.24424).

Item Number: S0.24424

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/user/thomasoboelee/videos

When the Reed sisters, Elizabeth & Lydia, asked me to write a new work for two pianos, I wasn't quite sure where or how to begin. Then I came upon a book on numerology by Annemarie Schimmel, "The Mystery of Numbers." In it I discovered a lot of fascinating things, mystical and magical, associated with each number from one to 10,000.

Since I would be writing a piece for a duo, double digits would do the trick. Number 22 stood out. It has two important associations: the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, and there are 22 major arcana cards or "allegories" of the Tarot. Perfect! I could write 22 pieces, each a musical rendering of a card.  And, coincidentally, this work will opus 66.

For pictorial inspiration, I bought a Pierpont Morgan Library copy of the Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards from 15th century Italy.

For musical inspiration, I listened to the wonderful salon music of the Polish composer Frederic Chopin, the American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk, and the Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth.

The 22 pieces in the Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards are:

Zero Il Matto The Fool entertains the gathered guests with a tarantella.
I. Il Saltimbanco The Mountebank shuffles his cards and does a samba.
II. La Papessa The High Priestess concocts a magic potion.
III. L'Imperatrice The Empress dances all night.
IV. L'Imperatore The Emperor promenades into the Great Hall and inspects the courtiers.
V. Il Papa The Pope makes a proclamation that all sinners will be pardoned.
VI. L'Amore Love in a tropical paradise.
VII. Il Carro Triumphant in battle, the gladiators ride into town on chariots.
VIII. La Giustizia Justice is swift and unrelenting.
IX. Il Vecchio The Old Man reminisces.
X. La Ruota della Fortuna Fortunes rise and fall unpredictably.
XI. La Fortezza Strength and fortitude will prevail.
XII. Il Penduto Lamentation for the Hanged Man.
XIII. Il Morte Death lurks around the corner.
XIV. La Temperanza Temperance in A major.
XV. Il Diavolo The Devil seduces with his charm and wit.
XVI. La Torre The tower topples and crashes onto the populace gathered below.
XVII. La Stella Twinkle, twinkle, little star ...
XVIII. La Luna Minuet for moonstruck lovers.
XIX Il Sole Sunshine, margaritas and salsa cubana.
XX Il Giudizio On the Day of Judgment, the angels blow their trumpets ...
XXI. Il Mondo The world would be a happier place if we all dance together.

Performance option: Shuffle the 22 "allegory" cards from the Tarot deck to determine the order of performance.

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