Death Of Paneloux
March 29, 2009
St Matteus Church
Stockholm, Sweden
Adrian Knight, pno


Death of Paneloux was composed in 2009 and references Father Paneloux, a fictional Jesuit priest whose actions and death are chronicled in Albert Camus’s 1947 novel, The Plague. In the novel, Father Paneloux initially reacts to the plague running rampant through the city of Oran as God’s punishment for the city’s non-believers. He simultaneously preaches God’s presence as a scourge and a symbol of hope. However, after witnessing an infected child’s gruesome death, Paneloux questions the rationality behind the loss of an innocent life. He delivers a new sermon calling the death of the innocent child a test of faith, proclaiming if God willed the child’s death, the true Christian should wish them same for himself. Several days later, Paneloux becomes ill and quickly succumbs to symptoms not associated with the plague. Camus poetically refers to his death as “a doubtful case.” The contradictions in Father Paneloux’s philosophy and death is one of many allegorical themes in Camus’s existentialist masterpiece. Adrian Knight’s treatment of this character can be interpreted in a similar manner. The calm consonance of Knight’s repetitive motives is continually challenged by unexpected harmonic motion and the addition of dissonant pitches to pre-existing chords. The peaceful nature of the music is fleeting, as it is continuously colored by the unexpected. Death of Paneloux was composed to be performed as part of a Sunday Mass.

Karl Larson

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