Social deviance has provided many a foil for artists, as they broach subjects that are taboo to society. One such poet, Richard Dehmel provides the basis for this concert as he takes on the sexual mores of the late 19th century. His poem, Transfigured Night, provided Schoenberg with the inspiration for the orginal string sextet version of the same name. At the crux of the poem, the human drama is the dread of a woman’s confession to her new lover that she is pregnant but the child is not his and how her new lover accepts this fact. This explicitly implies sex, both pre-marital and in extension a certain promiscuity. The poem can seem trite but this is also the poet’s ‘confession’ of sex in society. Thus it is is a description of deviance from sexual norms as well as the self-censorship of a sexually active society .
Your Smiling Face is a Taiwanese movie from 1979 that shares the same storyline as Transfigured Night. Through it, the reticence about the democratization of sex in Chinese cinema is broken. Three songs from the movie will be adapted for re: mix. They are “Your Smiling Face”, “Walking in the rain” and the most ubiquitous of all “Olive Tree”.
Both stories end with the transcendance of an impossible situation where these men accept their loves and act in defiance to societal norms. The allusion to Christ’s transfiguration in Dehmel’s poem provides a link to the redemption of agape love. It is this redemptive quality of Love that elevates it into the noumenal and brings about the possibility that against all odds, we remain deviants defiant.