Metanoia is a work for concert band, and the dictionary definition is hard to pin down. It comes to us from two Greek roots. Meta means "beyond" or "after," meaning more comprehensive or transcending. Think of the word "metaphysics"--meaning "beyond the natural". Noia means "thought" or "mind" or sometimes "understanding," in the sense of "paranoia," or "beside thought". Metanoia, therefore, means "beyond thought" or "after thought." Well, that could mean nearly anything, and it kind of does. In theology, Metanoia is often taken to mean a spiritual conversion, repentance, or atonement. In psychology, Carl Jung uses it to mean a psychological meltdown and subsequent rebirth. The term has additional meanings in orthodox Christianity and Rhetoric, but more or less the word means a change of some sort.
I wrote Metanoia at the very end of 2020--the completion date lists New Year's Eve. After a year of experiencing a pandemic, a tumultuous election season, and seismic social shifts, a great deal of change seems to have occurred and a great deal of thinking will undoubtedly follow. What will all this turmoil lead to? What changes will we make? As I wrote the piece, I thought not only of our immediate situation, but the other ways in which we transform and grow. Master teachers. Caring friends. Nurturing families. Each other. The music is optimistic, even though it has its own challenges in the form of mixed time signatures. But it's forward looking. It's triumphant. It dreams of a metamorphosis to a better world.
As do we all.
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