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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Musical Interlude

Although I'm mainly a traditionalist when it comes to art appreciation, I do like some abstract art.

Enjoy this video set to "Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821: I. Allegro moderato" by Mstislav Rostropovich and Benjamin Britten, Benjamin Britten (hat tip to Farmers Letters):

[about the artist Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky (1866-1944]


  1. From 1918 to 1921, Kandinsky dealt with the cultural politics of Russia and collaborated in art education and museum reform. He painted little during this period, but devoted his time to artistic teaching, with a program based on form and colour analysis; he also helped organize the Institute of Artistic Culture in Moscow. In 1916 he met Nina Andreievskaya, whom he married the following year. His spiritual, expressionistic view of art was ultimately rejected by the radical members of the Institute as too individualistic and bourgeois. In 1921, Kandinsky was invited to go to Germany to attend the Bauhaus of Weimar by its founder, architect Walter Gropius.

  2. The sun melts all of Moscow down to a single spot
    that, like a mad tuba, starts all of the heart and all of the soul vibrating.
    But no, this uniformity of red is not the most beautiful hour.
    It is only the final chord of a symphony
    that takes every colour to the zenith of life
    that, like the fortissimo of a great orchestra,
    is both compelled and allowed by Moscow to ring out.

    ~ Wassily Kandinsky

    He may not have been known as a poet, but because he was an uncommon visionary who produced compelling works of pictorial art his writing contained poetic elements that seem almost involuntary.

    Do read the WIKI article AOW linked for us. It contains many reproductions of Kandinsky's work from his early days as a highly competent traditional realist, through a transformation to quasi-Impressionism, the bold experiments with the use of intense, brilliant colors and a final emergence int purely abstract art.

    He is credited for producing the very first painting that could properly be called "abstract."

    I was struck too by learning he didn't begin to paint at all till he was thirty years of age.

  3. I never would have thought to pair Kandinsky with the music of Franz Schubert, but this works astonishingly well. The paintings are so vivid, fresh, and alive with a spirit I can only describe as Courageous Merriment. No wonder he was hated and rejected by the Soviet Tyrannists as "too individualistic and Bourgeois!" I don't know about "Bourgeois, because I doubt very much if the Bourgeoisie of Kandinsky's time would have felt the charm or understood the value of Kandinsky's work. [If I understand it correctly, they had a terrible time accepting even Renoir and Degas!] But no matter. I think it was the IMPISH FREE-SPIRITEDNESS implicit JOY in Kandinsky's transformative work that turned off the Communists –– they who have always been so heavily invested in promoting the misery and soul-deadening deprivation of unbridled materialism as the be all end all of existence. This, of course, is the very SAME reason the Establishment Tyrants of His day insisted on murdering Jesus Christ. The one thing tyrants of every stripe cannot abide is the nonconformity inherent in INDIVIDUALISM.

  4. Few who know him at all are aware that British composer Benjamin Britten was an extraordinarily gifted pianist as well as one of the twentieth-century's most noteworthy and celebrated composers of serious music. I wish he had recorded more as a pianist, because frankly no one could touch him for being able to project sensitivity to the meaning and lyrical beauty of the accompaniments he performed.

    Mstislav Rostropovich was known first as one of the greatest cellists of the past century, but later he became equally famous as an orchestral conductor. His last post in that field, I believe, was as principal conductor of the National Symphony based in Washington, DC. He conducted that august body of instrumentalists at "A Capital Fourth," Washington DC's annual celebration of the birth of our nation, which in those days was thrillingly brilliant and beautiful event broadcast each yet by PBS.

    Things have gone so far downhill since Rostrapovich left us, that I can no longer enjoy A Capital Fourth. It now reflects the trashy, degenerate nature of modern American popular culture, and therefore robs the Independence Day Event of the dignity, honor and spiritual significance the occasion properly demands.

    What a shame this extraordinarily fine performance the Schubert was cut off before we could hear at least that one movement completed! I was enjoying it tremendously.

    Thanks so much, AOW, for this delightful break from the usual dreary, depressing, enervating obsession with the horrors of contemporary politics that take up far too much of our time.

  5. much needed break AOW HAPPY SUNDAY my friend!! xoxox Keep up the great fight! :)

  6. Thanks for the h/t, AoW...

    ...and thank you, FT, for taking the time to share all of that exposition on Kandinsky and the accompanying music.

    I really enjoyed re-watching the video!

    1. Thank you, FJ. Having one's presence in the blogosphere acknowledged with any sort of friendliness and approbation is a rare and much appreciated treat –– as are those rare, delightful souls who address their comments to the content of the post whatever it may be. };-)>

  7. that music is absolutely gorgeous....an Kandinsky is hit and miss for me, but I sure do appreciate what he did when he did it.
    Thanks, AOW.

    May I dare ask how the services for the cousin were?
    I sang at one yesterday for a very dear friend (See blog) and felt so blessed to have been able to do it at her request....I hope the service didn't take too much out of you and that Mr. AOW is feeling better.

    1. Z,
      The place, a very large funeral home with a very large chapel, was packed and overflowing to the point that many were out in the parking lot with their iPhones when the service finally started. As a result, the service was broadcast live over the Internet.

      Many of his high-school friends and work colleagues came, and he had so many friends in high school -- in part, because he was on the baseball and football teams.

      It was a difficult evening, Z. Grief on everyone's face.

      The worst part was the two year old crying and calling out, "Daddy! Daddy!" This outcry occurred during the visitation because the child could see her father's photos everywhere as well as the running video loop on the plasma TV screens. She calmed down during the service itself.

      The memorial service itself was quite short and focused on this Scripture:

      Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things -- Philippians 4:8.

      There's more to this story; email me because I cannot discuss all of this in a public forum.

      Both Mr. AOW and I are emotionally drained today, and his jaw is still terribly swollen. We're taking it easy today.


      I read your blog post, but didn't comment. I said goodbye to my teaching mentor in April 2009 and managed to say a few words without breaking down and sobbing. Had it not been for this wonderful woman, I'd have walked away from teaching because of such a bad experience in the public school system. She managed to persuade me to try teaching at her private school for one month to see if I wanted to teach again, and I stayed for 18 years. I'd still be there now -- except that the school closed 18 years ago. I still miss her and that school!

    2. Z,
      Now that I've managed to say something about your blog post today, I'll copy and paste this at your site.


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