Sonata for Cello and Piano "Master and Margarita"This Sonata for Cello and Piano by Bern Herbolsheimer is based on Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita, which is considered by many as the best literary work of the 20the century. This book was not allowed to be published by the USSR censorship for many years due to its veiled criticism of the Russia's Soviet-era government.
Bern Herbolsheimer took four scenes from the novel for the movements of his sonata.
I. Passio Secundum Pontio Pilato
The first movement of his sonata Bern describes as “Passio secundum Pontio Pilato” - Pontius Pilate’s version of the Passion of Christ. In the book Pontius Pilate has an excruciating headache while he needs to make the decision of sending to death a man who he believes may be innocent. Pontius torn between what he feels is the right thing to do (free the man) and the responsibility to uphold Roman and local laws. When the decision if finally made, and there is nothing can be done to change it, the movement is concluding with a peaceful, Bach-like chorale which is a harmonization of Pilate’s tormented theme.
II. Queen Margot's Ride
Queen Margot’s Flight - Margarita flies high over the Russian landscape before appearing as queen of the yearly ball given by Satan and attended by history’s most infamous evil and condemned. All those guests at the ball committed horrible crimes during their lifetime that made them go to hell. They all are dead of course and come to life only one night a year by the Satan's magic to attend this ball.
III. Love Song of Master and Margarita
This movement portrays the depth, passion, difficulty and eternal qualities of their love. The lovers cannot be together until Satan visiting Moscow unites them in eternal bliss.
IV. Black Magic at the Variety Theater
Black Magic at the Variety Theater - Satan’s nefarious, frowsy and foxy gang of hooligans present an outrageous magic show which makes victims of the corrupt and greedy audience.