Yesterday's offering was a selection of Bach Concertos....the Brandenburg Concertos performed by the chamber orchestra of Lincoln Center. I drifted in and out of sleep, bringing my dreams forward as I became more fully awake. But something strange happened.
When I listen to music, I try to figure out how the music looks. I see notations on a staff, and marvel at the genius of the mind that can compose such intricate beauty. And of course, music always sets moods of various kinds---maybe a sunset, or a place of quietness, or even a car chase. We all know how powerful the Star Wars music is; it is perfect to evoke visions of vast space. And I have always considered dance of all kinds to be an interpretation of music. Literally seeing music in the bodies of the dancers. Who can ignore the beauty of a ballet dancer or an ice skater when they truly embrace a piece of music and let it flow out and through their bodies?
But yesterday, instead of seeing the notes placed neatly on their respective staves, or perhaps a wooded scene, I saw color! Pure, clear color. The music was represented by floating circles of color. The bass tones were large, and dark, but not saturated color. I think a deep purple or perhaps a midnight blue. Still, more color than a black. Those tones of sound and color seemed to be suspended from some kind of string and oriented in a vertical manner. They progressed across my field of vision, but in a stately dance. Always vertical in nature, but moving horizontally. Some were grouped together; others were more isolated. Just as notes would be on the page---half notes separate from a grouping of quarter notes, and whole notes standing by themselves.
Then there were the treble instruments....the flutes, the oboes, the high strings. Those colors were at an oblique angle from the stately bass sounds/colors. They were also considerably smaller in size...like little pebbles or those teeny tiny marbles. Each was its own color, and they created a cheerful contrast to the deep sounds of the bass. Beautiful reds and oranges, and greens, turquoise, and all shades in between.
The treble colors were small dots dancing around and teasing the bass. They bounced off one another and the bass, laughing and teasing. Whereas the bass was very linear in design, the treble colors were curvilinear in their path. And where the bass was moving across the vision in a very determined manner---sharply vertical, but still moving horizontally--the trebles were moving happily horizontal, singing up and down, but always in a more lyrical movement, in perfect contrast and complement to the bass.
The whole composition was suspended in a space filled with light....a yellow, I think. I cannot nail that down yet.
Since quilting is my first choice for art, I have contemplated how to interpret this very dimensional design in fabric. Somehow, I need to figure out a way to represent that layering. The bass was not separate from the treble....the treble interwove around the grounding of the bass.
Somehow, I have to develop a way to show immense depth. So far the vision is still so deep in my mind that I cannot even begin a simple sketch.
I tried to find the Concerto no. 1 on the internet and was unsuccessful. I really need to listen to the piece again and again to bring that vision forward into my consciousness enough to do some rough sketches. And I need to explore techniques that will give me layers, and depth, and a movement of light, for that is what color is in the final analysis: light.
I have heard of a crossover of the senses, but I have never experienced it myself---until now. It is a heady experience and one I am embracing wholeheartedly. A glorious new experience given to me for joy and pleasure.
Bach was a genius. I do not even pretend to be. His music is almost always intricately repetitive.
Between his Sophomore and Junior years in high school, my son spent his summer studying for his SATs, teaching himself the trombone, and reading a heavy tome that compared Bach's music, to Escher's art, to Goethe's math. My son is also a genius! He aced his SAT, with a perfect score in math, and missed a couple of the English portion questions. He still enjoys his trombone, and has a doctorate in pure math science.
I do not pretend to be a genius....but what I did learn from Jason's studying that summer was that all three artists, each in his own discipline, explored the beauty of repetition. Round and round they go, each section informing the next, and the next, until they return to themselves.
How I am going to continue my own personal exploration is unknown to me for now. Perhaps I will never be able to put to fabric what I saw as I came out of my dreams yesterday morning. Still, that will be okay. I was given a rare and beautiful gift, and that will continue to inform my art and my perception of the world in a profound and beautiful way.
I am going to nurture this new gift. I am going to listen to music in all its forms----the wind in the golden trees, the sound of a child's laughter, the low whispered sounds of my husband, the whizz of the tires on hard pavement....surely they all must have their own unique color. I will be looking for sound.
i invite you to look, really look, and listen to the world around you today. What joy awaits you!!
Take time to laugh, to read, and dabble just a bit in your art.....just to satisfy your soul.
Ta Ta for now,