Visions of Nothingness
Piano Sonata in 2 movements (1975)
by Ron Hannah

Duration: about 14 minutes

    This work stems from my reading of Albert Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus", his great teatise on suicide. I find I respond to the existentialists' idea that the universe is founded on absurdity. Looking inward (the title of the first movement) in a long moment of quiet and



contemplation, we find ourselves frightened and alone, locked into our little cranium and unable to reach out and really communicate with others. Art and music come closest to real human expression, but even they fail in the end. We have a small understanding of our being, yet we fail to comprehend ourselves in any depth.

    Looking outward (the second movement), a similar absurdity takes place. Locked onto a little rock hurtling through space, we find ourselves condemned to injustice, pain and death, or the constant threat of them. Worse, we are 'condemned to freedom' (to use Sartre's expression). Again, we are given limited understanding of our surroundings, enough only to realize their complete indifference to our existence, and when we reach a level of experience whereby we may begin to probe the mystery of being, we are abruptly snuffed out - and thus the movement ends. I disagree with Camus: at bottom life is not worth living. [NOTE (from 2011): The above was written some years ago, and my attitudes have changed considerably, viz. I'm still here! Nevertheless I am letting those program notes stand since they reflect the milieu from which the music sprang.]

    Click on the button above to hear Roger Admiral's fine performance. That recording comes from a Clef Record Label CD entitled "Visions of Nothingness", and it contains several lovely works by Canadian composers. The CD and full score may be obtained from the Canadian Music Centre, and a partial score downloaded here by clicking on the button above (the first 3 pages of each movement). You may also request the full score from myself (below). My only restriction is that if you decide to perform this piece that you inform me by email so that I can keep this website up-to-date.