Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Note On Music

 Flying over The Yukon Territory

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
~Aldous Huxley

I have fallen in love with music: classical music that is. I have loved it since I was a child (I still have my old copy of Beethoven's Triple Concerto tucked away somewhere) but recently I have found some new pieces that move me very much. 

My friend Brian, a music teacher and brilliant guy, has helped open my eyes to the beauty that exists within classical music. I always knew it was there, but the difference is that now I paint while I listen to it...and that brings forth some wonderful emotions and observations about the nuances of the my painting and the music in the air while I am working.

Please keep in mind I know next to nothing about music, how to create it or how to analyze it...I simply know what I like. I suppose this point of view is similar to many people who look at art- they don't know why they like something, they just like it. And really, that is all that matters isn't it? However, there is something to be said for having an understanding of how a thing of beauty is constructed. To have a knowledge of what goes into a piece of gorgeous music can enhance one's appreciation of it, and thus our enjoyment of it as well. There are three pieces of music in particular that have captured my ear lately. 

The first piece of music is the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No 1. You can see a video of it here. Now, keep in mind I have no idea how to play music or read music, other than two years of voice lessons when I was growing up, so excuse any inaccuracies that I might utter here. 
This piece of music, while widely popular, moves me every time I hear it. It reminds me of a soothing voice, a confident voice in the darkness. I also think of it as a breeze that circles around you on the side of a hill, you can feel it there and then it is gone. It is throaty and unrelentingly beautiful, from the first note to the last. 

The second piece of music that has literally hypnotized me is Erik Satie's Trois Gymnopedie. There is a video of it here. I first heard this piece of music as part of the score to the unbelievable documentary Man On Wire. If you have not seen this documentary, about Philippe Petit, go rent it now. Satie's music softly framed the beauty of Petit's unbelievable feats of patience, balance, and sheer courage. Now I paint to it and it transports my mind away from the paint and right back to it. It is sublime, truly. This seemingly simple piece of music, where the notes seem ready to fall to the ground but continue to hang in the air, casts a spell on me ever time I hear it.

The third piece of music is Claude Debussy's Clair De Lune. I remember hearing it over the years but finally tracked down the name of it last year.  There is not much I can say about it other than it is gorgeous. It has an optimistic tone to it, a sense of curiosity and a revelatory feel, as though whomever is listening to it is about to make a profound discovery. 

I think listening to these pieces of music really demonstrates how varied and beautiful music truly is. Music touches all of our lives, no matter where we are or who we are. It is an art that is probably as old or older than the earliest drawings in caves. Music and art have been around for so long I think perhaps because they unite us, they encourage community and create connections, they also take us away to another place and they can alter the way we live our lives. When we are affected by something beautiful or moving, be it Beethoven or Sargent, we catch our breaths sometimes, and try to grasp what it is we are hearing and seeing. Perhaps their beauty is elusive and thus even more attractive because of it. 

Here is some information on my upcoming solo exhibition in November of 2009. I hope to see you there!

Newfoundland Portraits
November 5-22nd, 2009
Abbozzo Gallery, Oakville, Ontario
Opening Reception November 6th, 7-10pm

"When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest."~Henry David Thoreau

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the photo(is it yours), are the clouds and ponds/lakes meant to represent notes----the river(s);a melody or pattern of movement of some sort....that is the first thing that I thought of anyway......
Longer entries would be nice.... so would more photos.........have you ever listened to Ron Allen...beautiful wood flute...I think that you would absolutly love it(I do)....give it a listen.