Unification is the process of bringing the elements of life and of self together into harmony.
By all accounts, Abigail and John Adams personified unity of purpose in their marriage of fifty-four years and their public lives.
- Joseph J. Ellis, First Family: Abigail & John Adams (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).
- Margaret A. Hogan, C. James Taylor and Joseph J. Ellis, eds., My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams (Belknap Press, 2007).
- Woody Holton, Abigail Adams (Thorndike Press, 2010).
- Edith B. Gelles, Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage (William Morrow, 2009).
- David McCullough, John Adams (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
- John Ferling, John Adams: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2010).
- Unification of life through art:
Technical and Analytical Readings
- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011): utilizing conflicts between intuitive and deliberative thinking to develop a two-systems approach to thought.
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
Ludwig van Beethoven composed the seven movements of his String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131 (1826) (approx. 35-42 minutes), to be played together in sequence, without significant pause between the movements. “Set in seven movements which flow together in a continuous musical stream, the Op. 131 Quartet turns the traditional string quartet form on its head.” “With . . . typically, the longest duration of any of his quartets, Op. 131 would seem to be Beethoven's most expansive utterance. All seven movements are played without pause creating a single giant continuous structure embracing an initial somber but lyrical fugue, two vibrant scherzi, a colossal theme and variations, connective recitative, a wisp of heartbreaking adagio and a dazzling finale cresting in mountainous developments alongside the most delicate, visceral, effervescent and tensile textures imaginable.” In addition and perhaps more important, “for the first time in Beethoven’s music there is as emphatic and unmistakable thematic connection between the first movement and the last, not a reminiscence, but a functional parallel which helps bind the whole work together.” Top recorded performances are by Busch Quartet in 1936, Budapest String Quartet in 1961 ***, Amadeus Quartet in 1963, Quartetto Italiano in 1969, Alban Berg Quartet in 1981, Takács Quartet in 2005, Jasper String Quartet in 2013, Dover Quartet in 2022.
Mozart, String Quintets:
- No. 1 in B-flat Major, K 174 (1773) (approx. 24’)
- No. 2 in C Minor, K 406 (1787) (approx. 20-23’)
- No. 3 in C Major, K 515 (1787) (approx. 27-31’)
- No. 4 in G Minor, K 516 (1787) (approx. 32-34’)
- No. 5 in D Major, K 593 (1790) (approx. 24-28’)
- No. 6 in E-flat Major, K 614 (1791) (approx. 22’)
- Dutilleux, Trois Préludes (1973/1988): “. . . distilling innovations from the post-war era and a notable instance of Duilleux’s ability to harness nominally disparate items into a unified conception.” [Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone magazine, November 2021 issue, p. 60.]
- Doug Carn, “Adam’s Apple” (1974): soulful spirituality from an African-American perspective at a remarkably unique time in U.S. history
- Firasso, “Tales” (2021): “The group unites a classical clarinetist, an accordion player specialised in ‘new music’ and a jazz double bassist. Together, they fuse a post-genre mix of music which draws on the musical vocabulary of tango, klezmer, Balkan music and French musette.” This is a musical version of e pluribus, unum – from many, one.
- Grosse Isle, “Le bonhomme sept heures / The Bonesetter” (2021): Grosse Isle is an island in the St. Lawrence river in Québec, which served as a refuge for people escaping the Irish potato famine of the 1840s. The album brings together music from Québec and Ireland, as happened when these two cultures intermingled in Canada in the 19th century.
- Roxana Amed, “Unánime” (2022): “‘Beyond the common translation of “unanimous,” to me, Unánime means one soul, one voice, one heart,’ Roxana explains. ‘All the different guests on this album, although coming from different countries, are still united in the love for North American Jazz. And there is also this ‘Latin sound’ blending with that other tradition, no matter from where we come.'”
- Ablaye Cissoko & Cyrille Brotto, “Instant” (2022): “Ablaye Cissoko enjoys collaborating with musicians from other genres and traditions. This time, he combines the ancient griot traditions of West Africa’s kora with French folk music through the sounds of the diatonic accordion.” Cissoko says: “I am open and attentive to music and other musicians from all over the world. That is where I find stability and inspiration for my own music. My duo project with Cyrille embodies two histories, two cultures, two horizons and two landscapes. While playing I visualise Cyrille in his mountains and me with my large Mande family on the Atlantic coast of Saint-Louis in Senegal. It soothes me.”
- Anat Cohen, “Quartetinho” (2022) (57’): “rhapsodic interplay” among the members of the “little quartet” set the album’s character.