Harriet Stubbs - Heaven and Hell: The Doors of Perception

Harriet Stubbs’ debut solo piano release is based on the concept of The Doors of Perception and a marriage of contraries. It is a presentation of Classical Music through the lens of multi-Grammy award winning producer Russ Titelman and is a reimagining of traditional classical repertoire. The album has a clear narrative running parallel to a Blakean understanding of transcendence.

In Blakean philosophy we enter life in a state of Innocence at childhood and dwell within that realm until we experience; at which point our perception is altered. The state of Experience and the journey from Innocence to Experience is mirrored by the first half of the album’s repertoire. There are clear states of innocence in the Brahms and the Chopin, there is lightness to the Stravinsky with our rearrangement of it. We enter Experience at the middle of the album with the Bach Busoni Chaconne in D minor. The rest of the album is a journey through the doors of perception to reach the Blakean state of higher innocence which is a combination of Innocence and Experience. It is a chosen realm of living, reached through the doors of perception and having removed our mind forged manacles which in this case are our perceptions of how classical music is displayed and understood. Life and death, light and dark, are here brought together and spiral around each other lifting us to our goal that is a marriage of the two contrary states of the human soul. D minor as a key is often associated with death and demonic spirit and is the key of the Prokofiev Diabolical Suggestions, yet the Scriabin reaches E major, well associated with heaven. Even geographically E major and D minor couldn’t be closer together melocially, yet harmonically are the absolute opposite. The album ends with plates that I curated to form the explanation in text that Marianne Faithful reads over John Adam’s Phrygian Gates, the gates are being used synonymously with doors in order to take the listener through that transition. We decided that we would like Marianne on the album reading to represent the merging of genres and art forms as she is well known as an icon in the Rock world.

Classical Music is as relevant as poetry, as storytelling, and as other genres of music. This project represents that with narrative, our reader, producer, and arrangement of the Stravinsky, As an artist I have always had the vision of changing the face of Classical Music and the spaces in which it is performed in; whilst combining my love of art forms and proving how Prokofiev can be as life transforming as Rock n Roll and Pop and share their stages.