for the love of money
The proclamation of Norton I
Male choir and optional electronic sounds
About the piece
"for the love of money" is a highly contextual piece. I wanted to compose music inspired from texts by old mad kings, I searched and had a bit of a hard time, but eventually I found the very clear and concise words by Norton I of the United States. Apparently he was a businessman gone mad living in San Francisco during later 1800s.
I was taken by the fate by Joshua Norton and very intrigued by the fact just before he proclaimed himself emperor, he had a personal financial crisis where he lost all his money speculating in a potential great profit on buying and selling rice. The price dropped suddenly and he could not pay the seller, and not sell his own either. This lead to his downfall, and he disappeared for a while. When he later reappeared he went to the newspaper and proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States, issuing various decrees and orders.
I also found the well known piece "Greensleeves" that according to rumour was composed by (the mad?) king Henry VIII (this is believed to be a false rumour), that so to speak fit the bill. I found that if you think on Greensleeves rather than being a lost lover, instead as being a nickname for dollar (like "Greenback") it transforms into a song about the fate of Joshua Norton, his possible love for money and his state of madness, or living "in a world apart" because of his loss. The Greensleeves lyrics therefore state the background of Norton if you will, and his own words are his wishes for order and stability in his own life.
Norton eventually got quite famous in San Francisco, and he even issued his own money, growing into a popular tourist attraction. He died at November 8, 1880 and according to some accounts as many as 30 000 people lined the streets to pay homage, and that the funeral cortege was 3 km long.
The title actually has nothing to do with the original lyrics, but is a well-known quote from Timothy 6:10. I like to think that it puts the rest of the lyrics in an interesting context, and explains a lot with very few words.
Ňfor the love of moneyÓ was composed during the very real financial crisis beginning 2008.
Commissioned by Linkšpings StudentsŚngarfšrening 2008
Durata: approx. 10 min.
First performed by Lihkšren and Hans Lundgren in Linkšping may 2010
If desired, this piece may be performed with a tape part playing an ambient sound. To perform with it one need a CD player or a mp3-player and PA-system with two speakers. More information in the score.