Commissioned by the Phoenix Piano Trio as part of their Beyond Beethoven Project.

Programme Note

The Forgiveness Machine was commissioned by the Phoenix Piano Trio as part of their Beyond Beethoven Project. My work is very closely modeled on the second movement of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio and comprises a set of loosely structured variations, many of which are motivically very similar to Beethoven's.

This work is dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Christina Hoad. I received this commission in the last months of her life, and would often sit in the room listening to the Archduke on my headphones while she rested. Beethoven’s music to me at that time had an almost transcendental quality to it, temporarily permitting an escape from the reality and inevitability of my Nan’s illness. It was this quality of serenity, beauty and dignity that I tried to emulate in my work.

The title is taken from an art work by Karen Green: the Forgiveness Machine was made after the death of her husband David Foster Wallace and encourages members of the public to write down on a piece of paper what they want to forgive/be forgiven for before feeding it to the machine which sucks up the piece of paper and shreds it (the artwork is some seven foot long). Whilst in my case there is nothing to forgive, it was the feeling of catharsis that many people reported after interaction with this artwork that struck a chord with me and had tremendous relevance to this work.

© Copyright Cheryl Frances-Hoad 2011