Persona is a Latin term referring to an actor's face mask (literally from per sonare which means “to sound through"). In plays and literature even today, “persona” can refer to a narrator, which allows the author to provide a world view without necessarily claiming it as his or her own. The words "person" and "personality" are also derived from this term.
In the early 20th Century, the psychologist Carl Jung used the term to suggest that people put on various psychological masks to express who they are in different settings and to fulfill the social roles of child, parent, friend, adversary, and the like--sometimes appearing to have very different personalities as a result.
This piece is an exploration of this phenomenon. By placing very simple melodic material (primarily the pitch interval of a third, and to some degree the major seventh) in dramatically varied contexts, it becomes transformed and appears to take on very different personalities or roles. Causing the material to “sound through” a variety of dynamics, registers, harmonies and textures allows us to glean a full sense of its meaning.
Paradox was commissioend by the Nebraska chapter of the Music Teachers National Association. Jonathan Sokasits gave its first performance in October, 2008, in Lincoln, Nebraska.