Listen to Music
Duration - approx. 20 min.
I initially wrote Humanity Divine in the spring of 2005. The original text consisted of passages of Nikos Kazanztakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ. However, acquiring the rights became a quixotic dream, so in the fall of 2007 I rewrote the text myself, using the themes of the original text as inspiration. Not wanting to take the brunt of writing such a loaded text myself, I decided to use passages from a variety of sources, including The Bible, The Qur’an, Dante’s Inferno, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and a fragment from the original text. The result is a much more subdued and rhapsodic text, with many allusions and ambiguity. I’m not expecting it to have the same power as the original text, but I hope that it can be something else, something new and unusual and powerful and haunted.
The story remains the same. Jesus learns of his divinity and intended fate. Since he is mortal he has doubt about his divinity. This leads him to the desert where he fasts for forty days and nights, all the while tempted by Satan. After this he heads toward Jerusalem. He is betrayed by Judas (a somewhat sympathetic character in this telling) and crucified. But, before he dies he is given one final temptation, that of a normal, mortal life. It is Judas who finally arrives and helps Jesus understand what is occurring. Rid of the final temptation, Jesus dies and the rest, they say, is history.
Although not intended as blasphemous, lots of the material is counter to what conservative churches like to portray as being “Christ-like”. But is it too hard to imagine a man who doesn’t understand what he is? A man that is conflicted between the human feelings that he sees as being natural, and the Godly feelings that are forced upon him? And this man who is or maybe isn’t the last possible hope for mankind must be tempted to simply be a man and not a God, for to think one is God would be vanity and therefore a sin? This theological quagmire leads Christ to his last temptation, to forsake his death for a good, mortal life with a wife, kids, and happiness. But to deny this temptation, to choose suffering and death is what I find fascinating and truly God-like.
This piece has not been performed.
The future: Bobby Watson and the UMKC Big Band will premiere Rhapsody for Dean Moriarty in Kansas City, MO.
The future: Ashly Evans will premiere Birdsongs in Houston, TX.
The future: Jeux pour Jumeaux will be premiered in San Francisco, CA.
spring, 2014: David Tayloe will premiere A Page Out of Zen.
November 21st, 2013: Ryan Ford will perform BA(da)SS in West Hartford, CT.
November 8th, 2013: Oboe Duo Agosto will premiere various techniques for oboe and english horn in Boston, MA
October 6th, 2013: Joseph Abad and Marko Stuparovic will perform Icarus on a CCI concert at the Wilton Public Library in Wilton, CT
May 26th, 2013: Joseph Abad and Marko Stuparovic will perform Icarus in West Hartford, CT.
April 22nd, 2013: Jordan Jacobson will perform fragments and memories with the HICO Orchestra in CT.
April 20th, 2013: Jordan Jacobson will perform fragments and memories with the HICO Orchestra in CT.
April 19-20, 2013: The UMKC Opera Dept. will perform portions of Songs from Behind the Curtain.
April 7th, 2013: Joseph Abad and Marko Stuparovic will premiere Icarus in West Hartford, CT.
February 21st, 2013: Not Death, but Love will be performed by the Ouroboros Quartet at a Misha-maya-gat event in Manchester, CT.
October 18th, 2012: Sheri Brown and others will perform Getz Going: A Suite for Eddie Sauter in Manchester, CT.
October 14th, 2012: Sheri Brown and others will perform Getz Going: A Suite for Eddie Sauter in Hartford, CT.
August 23rd, 2012: Sheri Brown and others will premiere Getz Going: A Suite for Eddie Sauter on a Hartford Phase Shift concert.
June 7th, 2012 7pm: A concert of the works of Ryan Jesperson will be presented at the Hartt School in West Hartford CT.
May 31st, 2012: The Invisible, Magic, Soccer Phone will be premiered in Middlefield, CT.
Copyright© 2011 Ryan Jesperson