David Chesky - The Agnostic

David Chesky - The Agnostic
David Chesky - The Agnostic
Item# CD202

Product Description

Webster's dictionary defines "agnostic" as one who holds that the ultimate cause (God) and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience. Well, then, David Chesky has taken agnosticism one small step forward and made it into his own musical-poetical existential treatise; his own courageous hymn to modern-day man. Chesky's concerns, themes, pleadings and gropings all struggle with what it means to be alone and cast asunder in a Godless universe. His recitativo is that we have no answers -- only questions. Chesky does not stop or falter on his pilgrimage to individual self-affirmation. In fact, Chesky's libretto belabors the point of man being responsible to himself vis a vis his world. In a world lacking final cause, bereft of ultimate knowledge, the author maintains that contemporary man has little alternative but to go inside himself and invent himself out of his own material. Only then can he begin to realize his own being. Chesky's libretto plunges headlong into battle with his first section: TODD: a young boy having lost his innocence questions in his naive manner why God makes him (us) suffer so. SAM follows: a gay musician who asks for tolerance from his Maker rather than the punishment of exclusion. Next, SAM'S PRAYER, a direct and courageous expression of self-determination as well as the post-modern ethic of self-invention. As always, the young author's clarion call: the Humanistic ethic of individual responsibility. EGO, the fourth section, speaks of man's capacity to overcome his own limitations, flaws, and failings, his imperial ego and material and worldly ambitions. Chesky, as many before him, argues that the entirety of man's worldly achievements, nay, the entirety of his worldly existence, adds up to naught in the light of time. Chesky paraphrases the French post-modernist author Nathalie Sarraute: "How we magnify these topics when we're young." Chesky knows his source material and has clearly made it his own; his own idiosyncratic musical voice permeates and synthesizes all his sources' words. We're hardly a moment, a moment of consciousness, he asserts; a farce, he screams lyrically aloud. What more needs be said to make small man's overgrown yet stunted ego, apotheosize his unique capacity (necessity) for self-overcoming. To find the nobility and grace commensurate with the author's praiseworthy conception of true Human stature. FALSE GOD follows. In our present television age, where facile explanations and pseudo-solutions have become commonplace, where zealotry and the worship of the mass mentality seem to be running rampant, certainly looking inside oneself, the espousal of questioning rather than the dogma of answers seems right. To be sure, the author is on solid ground even if his ground is that ever-evolving and nascent self-forming that takes place for the first time, every time, in all his disciples' hearts, minds and souls. COWARDICE, the sixth section, is an apocalyptic quest for self-transcendence, for Man to do no less than make himself over, to enact Tillich's Courage To Be. In a world of spiritual diminishment, where the word has been supplanted by the image, Man's sole recourse, the author maintains, is nothing less than to start from the beginning, to go inside himself, to take from what he is and make himself MORE. In short, for Man to become himself, he must be himself. To be himself, he must become himself. SURRENDER: God is within us, Chesky affirms. Laying bold claim to free us from absolutes, Chesky cites Man as a mystery to himself. His ontology is self-referential, meaning Man is the being who questions himself. He resides in a permanent state of self-questioning. Life is not death. Acceptance of himself, his world, mankind. Chesky has wrought a veritable anthem to Man's everlasting dilemma of having to birth and invent himself, to surrender all he is as prerequisite to becoming who he can be. Affirmation of the human condition: Yes! To this composer-author, as those existential thinkers before him, Man is not lost in a Godless universe. On the contrary, taking this Godlessness as a starting point and surrendering all that he has is Man's sole Road to Damascus. His own unique and singular way to knowledge. To God, if you will. DEATH OF THE SPIRIT: Now we approach the concluding passages of The Agnostic. If God is dead, if the image has supplanted the sodden word, if Man has lost his place in a closed and comforting universe, what is left questions the author in incantory lines. RESURRECTION: As stated earlier, Chesky's Agnostic culminates in affirmation. Embrace life, he exclaims, move forward, transcend, rise and live, all is still possible, ever moreso, to this American composer. Inside us lies an unyielding strength, the stuff of miracles, the heroic and beautiful: Man is a dreamer. Dream on, Man, and so find yourself. Find resurrection. Do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible. No more lofty and noble words to be said. The young composer, whether he knows it or not, is an absolutist. His absolute is that he is an absolute believer in Man, in Man's own capacity to resurrect and replenish himself out of the origins of his own material. The world is Man-made. And, in turn, Man is Man-made. Embodied in him is the ever-questioning force of his ontology. From that very nature, that flesh-and-blood genetic code, Man is self-sufficient unto himself, again, always, forever. Preternaturally predestined to become more than himself, more than he is. Go forth, exclaims Chesky. Dream more. What a man thinks he can become. This is not merely old hat Sartre-Camus existentialism; this is the world as we inhabit it today. Our sole obligation is to make of our world and ourselves more than we are, more than we can ever fathom. Man the Remarkable. And so Chesky ends his Agnostic theology with the dictum "What we think we can become. Become more than man, let us live our dreams. Resurrection, resurrection, resurrection. Man!"

Track Listings

  1. Introduction
  2. Todd
  3. Sam
  4. Sam's Prayer
  5. Ego
  6. False Gods Interlude
  7. False Gods
  8. Cowardice
  9. Surrender
  10. Death of the Spirit
  11. Resurrection