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October 23 , 2009

Invisible Hands: A Novel


Ever since Napoleon and his successors, Thomas Jefferson and his , Winston Churchill and his, Joseph Stalin and his, Adolf Hitler and his, Mao Tse Tung and his, there has been talk about "A New World Order". Everyone agrees in principle and the realization of this "New World Order" is hampered by only one sticking point: everyone wants this new world order under their hegemony: Pax Germania, Pax Britannia, Pax Americana .
There is a little book on the market, titled "Invisible Hands". There is no mention of a new world order, but in chapter 21 a Requiem Mass, celebrating the memory of a world which died a violent death and, in Chapter 22, an Oratorio describing the birth of a New World, is performed.
The story begins and ends in an American town with important segments played out in 15th century Florence, Italy and in a 1000 year old Franciscan Monastery in the Carpathian Mountains in the late 1980s. It provides a vision of the time in which we live and it extends an invitation to critically view the world around us. It is the legacy of a cynical world which has become tired of itself; a political, social and human statement.
To make the subject interesting, even exciting and accessible to a wider readership, it has been cloaked in a fictional story about music. The players in it are people like most of us. It is a call for change, radical change. Subtle and barely audible in the beginning, it gains in volume and urgency as the story unfolds, climaxing in the performance of the Requiem and Oratorio.
History moves in cycles, endlessly repeating itself, just as season follows season. The 15th century Florentine composer "Claudio Marchetto Casserta” saw his world not much differently from the way we perceive ours: corrupt, manipulated by powerful special interests, held together by force and all subservient to the dictates of money (Global Capital). He decides to do something about it, to warn his fellow citizens of the impending danger, pleading to stop or even reverse the trend. His tools are the power of the pen, the power of the written word and the power of music. He expresses his vision, warning and plea in a Requiem bemoaning the death of an epoch, a period in history and an ideology which had sustained a social order for 100s of years. The Oratorio follows, celebrating the birth of a new world.
In the story Claudio Marchetto Casserta's composition is declared heresy and he is silenced by the prevailing powers. Today we know that his time was the beginning of the Reformation, probably the most cataclysmic revolution in the history of man, and it may not be over yet. The musical manuscript for both the Requiem and Oratorio vanished for nearly 500 years and was re-discovered in a 1000 year old Franciscan Monastery by three amateur musician, the principal protagonists of the story.
During an "Evening of Music”, the last six chapters and the focus of the narrative from the very beginning, the performance of Requiem and Oratorio, represent the peripety of the story. The theme of death and renewal is subtly present in all contributing threads. The second movement of Beethoven's third symphony may best reflect the spirit of the Requiem chapter and Beethoven's 6th symphony the spirit of the Oratorio chapter.
If you can retreat into the inner sanctum of your private world
If you can curl up in a corner of your sofa or sit at the kitchen table and silence the world around you
If you can accept the character’s invitation to become part of their world and reciprocate
If you can form an emotional bond with the players – love them, hate them, agree or disagree but never be indifferent
If you can read the story in 10 to 15 hours
If you like to be challenged intellectually, emotionally and linguistically

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