- J.S. Bach "Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother", BWV 992
- Franz Schubert Fantasy in C major "Wanderer", D. 760
- Franz Liszt Ballade No.2, S. 171
- L. van Beethoven Sonata in A-flat, Op.110
From the womb to the tomb, every human being undertakes a journey, a path filled with adventures, perils, ordeals and thresholds. It is the journey of a hero, and the story of this journey has been continuously retold and preserved in every corner of the world since the beginning of human history in its varied forms: in myths, folklore, religion, literature, theatre and film, the visual arts, dance and music.
According to the late scholar and mythographer Joseph Campbell, there is ultimately just one story, which he coined the “monomyth”, that forms the basis of all other stories. And it is the function of the artist to convey to us the powerful messages of this great story in his/her own particular artistic language.
Even some of music’s most basic structures allude to the hero’s journey. The classical sonata-allegro form, for instance, is constructed according to the pattern of a journey: When an initial proposition (Theme I) is confronted with a contrasting proposition (Theme II), a journey commences in which materials of both are examined, reshaped, interwoven and developed, often transporting the listener to distant, unstable tonal centers (Development), but inevitably returning to the original propositions in a state of resolution (Recapitulation).
"The Hero’s Journey" program consists of masterworks by the great keyboard composers — Bach, Schubert, Liszt and Beethoven — each exploring the theme in diverse ways: from an actual journey to be embarked upon by Bach’s brother in which both the dangers that commonly plagued long journeys as well as the heartache of separation from loved ones is recounted, to Schubert’s Romantic wanderer confronted by life's hard existential questions, to Liszt’s alleged allusion to the story of the tragic hero Leander who perishes in his quest for love, to the sublimely spiritual odyssey depicted in Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 110 in which the hero, having fathomed the depths, attains transcendent bliss.