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Maestro Essay

Maestro Essay Discuss the ways that composers of text use distinctively visual elements to convey ideas in their texts. Distinctively visual elements convey concepts and ideas presented by composers in texts which are expressed through the construction of writing within a novel or through symbolic artworks. In the novel ‘Maestro’ by Peter Goldsworthy and the sand art performance by Kseniya Simonova, distinctively visual images are generated thorough various techniques which convey the concepts of love and lust, the significance of loving bonds and the impact of war. 68) Paul, the main character in ‘Maestro’ is taught by a musical maestro named Keller who not only teaches him about his music, but also life skills. Keller becomes instrumental to Paul’s life and Goldsworthy presents this clearly in his novel. As Paul matures, he slowly comes to the realisation that he is beginning to learn from the maestro, and that Keller’s phrasings, which seemed absurd in adolescence, blossom into a “musical bible whose texts I knew by heart” (p. 123).

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This is a metaphor that emphasises the importance of Keller’s phrasings to Paul as they are referred to as a “musical bible”, displaying the importance of Keller in Paul’s life. It is through this metaphor that the composer conveys the significance of the loving bond between Paul and Keller to Paul in his development. (133) Although, as Paul matures, his attitudes towards the Maestro become warmer and they develop an unexpressed bond “I came to love the man, to depend on him” (p. 13). The metaphor, “A straining hawser” (p. 18) provides a distinctively visual image of Paul and Keller firmly clenching each others hands which symbolises the strength of the emotional connection between Paul and the maestro. This is significant as Paul’s connection with the maestro possesses great importance throughout his life as Paul develops a sense of maturity and personal development through him. Therefore, it is through this distinctively visual element generated by Goldsworthy that the loving bond and the significance of the bond between Paul and Keller is conveyed.

This concept of love is also expressed in Kseniya Simonova’s sand art performance (1:05-2:00) through the tears of the woman resulting from the separation from her loved one due to the war. (148) Through the use of contrast, Goldsworthy creates distinctively visual images between Paul’s female friends Megan and Rosie, differentiating between love and lust simply through the use of descriptive language used to describe them.

Distinctively visual images are illustrated of Megan as an angel “haloed vision”, “glowing hair” and Rosie as a fly “podgy, dimpled legs” in the novel and clearly express Paul’s initial feelings towards the girls, yet Paul becomes interested in Rosie “she had turned…pedalled to Rosie’s house”. Through these distinctively visual images the composer successfully conveys the idea of love overriding lust. 94) When Paul initially began lessons with Keller, his first impressions were misleading, “a boozers incandescent glow”, “sun-coarsened-skin”, “a cheap, ruined leather”, providing a distinctively visual image of Keller indicating that he has a wasted appearance. This is expressed by juxtaposing adjectives such as ‘cheap’, ‘ruined’, ‘coarsened’ and ‘incandescent’, which emphasise the effects alcohol has had on his appearance. This distinctively visual image of Keller demonstrates the detrimental impact of the war on him due to the loss of his family.

The sand art performance by Kseniya Simonova also depicts the harsh affects of war. She sculpts one image skilfully into another and telling a story with her fingers and the sand about WWII. During the act (4:10 – 4:40), a young beautiful woman is transformed into a sorrowful old lady after receiving news that her loved one is dead. This conveys the detrimental impact of the war on this lady through this distinctively visual image. (159) Throughout the novel, Goldsworthy explores the impact of war which is expressed through Keller.

In the novel, Paul comes across a tattoo situated upon Keller’s forearm, “tattooed upon his forearm, six faded, blue digits” which symbolised Keller’s involvement within the concentration camps and the Holocaust. It is through the use of descriptive words such as ‘faded’, which creates the meaning that it was faded because it was something of Keller’s past he wanted to forget about but will always remain with him, both internally and externally, that the composer has created a distinctively visual image of Keller’s tattoo indicating the traumas of his past resulting from the war, which conveys the idea of the impact of war.

The concept of the impact of war is similarly illustrated in Kseniya Simonova’s sand art performance as during the act (1:45-2:00) a happy couple is suddenly interrupted by the initiation of the war causing the woman to weep in fear and sadness. This scene provides a distinctively visual image of a traumatised woman which fosters the composer’s idea of the traumatising impacts of the war. (189) Kseniya Simonova’s facial features and agile movements throughout her performance evoke emphasis on her art work and it is through these movements that she engages herself in her artwork.

It is through her use of violent movements as her fingers fly over the sand, creating then destroying images that a distinctively visual image of WWII is created which conveys the traumatic impacts of the war. This is displayed during the act (3:10-3:15) as she violently throws sand destroying the illustration which represents the destruction of the war and therefore generates a distinctively visual image. (94) Resulting from the war, Keller lost his wife and son which resulted in Keller becoming an alcoholic. He chose the life among the ‘booze and blow’ (p. ) of Darwin to constantly remind himself of the weakness and absurdity of the human condition. The use of descriptive words such as ‘booze’ and ‘blow’ indicate the alcoholic smell of the place and creates a distinct image of the place, portraying it as an unpleasant atmosphere, which expresses the severe impacts that war has had on Keller as he surrounds himself in an uncomforting environment. (92) In these texts, the composer’s have clearly conveyed the concepts of the impacts of war, love and lust and loving bonds and shaped meaning of these concepts through the construction of distinctively visual images. (34)

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