The Rosetta Stone is a block of black basalt bearing inscriptions that eventually supplied the key to the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphic script. The stone was found accidentally in 1799 by a group of soldiers in Napoleon's army while they were conducting engineering works near Rosetta, Egypt. Its inscriptions are written in two languages: Egyptian and Greek.

At the time of its discovery, it was accurately conjectured that the contents of the two different texts were identical; only the Greek, however, could be understood, as all knowledge of hieroglyphic writing had been lost since the 4th century AD. However, it was only after 20 years of research by many scholars and scientists that the French scholar Jean Francois Champollion was finally able to accurately decipher the hieroglyphics.

Today the term "Rosetta stone" has come to signify the solution to any complex problem. We all know, however, that there are no easy solutions, and one cannot naively assume that the overtly simple is the answer to the overtly complex.

This applies also to the music in this piece. Though Rosetta stone is an exploration of extremes and contrasts of complexity and simplicity, one cannot assume that the introspection of the second movement is the simple solution to the complex first movement. Indeed, that which appears simple on the surface is often the most complex of all!






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