Frederic Rzewski has written not one, but two works based on letters written by controversial prisoners. Instantly, I thought Coming Together a great work. Based on a letter from prison by Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, De Profundis is also an interesting work but on first listen, the various parts--Wilde's text, the piano interludes, the post-modern vocalisms--did not fuse into any emotional impact. On second listen, I found it moving, especially as I came to realize Lisa Moore's vocal and piano performance was refined and yet theatrical. By the way, not coincidentally, she's on the Bang on a Can CD from Cantaloupe I'm listening to this week as well as the De Profundis Cantaloupe recording.
While the text ends in an upbeat way, Wilde's life after prison was short and poverty-stricken.
The artists and writers of the Aesthetic Movement tended to hold that the Arts should provide refined sensuous pleasure, rather than convey moral or sentimental messages.
Rzewski's work may in fact be beautiful but the text clearly conveys a moral tone about struggling against persecution. Would Wilde approve of the mix?