The Tarot is a system of spiritual and psychological divination, which uses a deck of special cards to help the subject consider different viewpoints he may not have realized on his own. It is often called a “card oracle,” as in Hajo Banzhaf’s highly accessible manual, Tarot for Everyone. Analogous to the famous oracles of Ancient Greece and Rome, the Tarot is not traditionally employed as a means of fortune telling, but is meant to assist in gleaning the true meaning of the famous slogan, “Know Thyself.” It is said that deeper investigation will reveal the Tarot to be a map of the spiritual self, the illuminated mind and an illustrated guide to ritual initiation employed by ancient mystery schools such as the cults of Apis, Serapis, Pythagoras and the Egyptian, Thoth. These traditions are preserved in modern fraternities such as Freemasonry and other Hermetic societies, some of which use the imagery of the Tarot to teach their humanistic system of morality and compassion.
The deck itself is divided into four suits of cards, as in a traditional deck of playing cards, with one additional face card in each suit, the Knight. In addition to these fifty-six suit cards, also called the Minor Arcana, are twenty-one unique trump cards known as the Major Arcana, as well as a single card called The Fool or Madman, which bears no number or specific place in the deck.
In this work, Le Mat: XXII Arcana, the profound imagery of the Major Arcana of the Tarot has been encoded musically and presented as twenty-two short pieces for solo piano. In the title, Le Mat, refers to the French name for The Fool in the traditional Tarot of Marseille, which was used exclusively as a reference. In some instances, the compositional language is an extension of the symbols and patterns found in the imagery of a card and the explanation of its meaning, in others the composer contemplated the design of a card and allowed his subconscious intuition to react expressively, unencumbered (as is possible) by his intellect. In the end, what we have is a musical system of divination, or a partial Tarot deck comprised of sound, rather than ink and paper.
released May 15, 2015
Pianist: Eric Clark
Engineer: Jesse Soracco
Piano Technician: Peter Stumpf
Artwork: Christian Kriegeskotte
Graphic Support: Joel Heires