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Scriabin, who died 100 years ago this year, was the first composer to associate colours with music; he believed that there is an aesthetic connection between musical harmony and shades of colour. The Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky was inspired by Scriabin, amoung others including Wagner. Kandinsky wanted to create what Scriabin had for music, but for colours and feelings. Kandinsky, had his own colour theory to match colours with musical tones or instruments.

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky (1913)

Composition VII by Wassily Kandinsky (1913)

There is a possibility that Scriabin had Synaesthesia, a condition where a sensation in one of the senses, such as hearing, triggers a sensation in another, such as sight. In Scriabin, music triggered a vision of certain colours in a ‘union of his senses’. Each note corresponded to a specific colour: C-red, G-orange, D-yellow, A-green, E-sky blue, B-blue, F#-bright blue, C#-violet, G#-lilac, D#-flesh, A#-rose, F-deep red. However, some composers such as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, disagreed with Scriabin about which keys related to which colours. It is believed that Messiaen and Liszt were also synaesthete, although the condition isn’t common even in people with perfect pitch. 

A piano illustrating which colour corresponds to which key

A piano illustrating which colour (according to Scriabin) corresponds to which key

Scriabin was also deeply philosophical and mystical; he had visions of other worlds and he wished to transport his audiences to other realms through his music. He had planned a great piece, the Mysterium, which would be performed in a half temple in India. The spectacle would include a light show engulfing performers and audience members, who would sit across a pool of water. Incense and acrid smoke would be blown across the scene, costumed speakers reciting texts would parade with the dancers and Scriabin would sit at the piano surrounded by the orchestra. Scriabin died before the composition was complete, this dream was never realised.  He once boasted that only his music could express the inexpressible.

A few years before his death, Scriabin produced a colour keyboard with colour lamps, known as  a clavier à lumières. In the score for Prometheus: The Poem of Fire (1910), Scriabin described how his clavier à lumières should accompany the orchestra. The colour organ was to be played like a piano but instead of emitting sound, it projected coloured light onto a screen. The only performance using the color organ as Scriabin had envisioned, was in New York in 1915. This was the year that Scriabin died, of an untreated infection under his famed moustache. It seems that Scriabin had vast sources of inspiration and had he lived longer perhaps more of his dramatic, other- worldly dreams would have been realised. 

Scriabin performing in St. Petersburg in April 1915 (his last recital)

Scriabin performing in St. Petersburg in April 1915 (his last recital)

(Written on November 17, 2015 )

Classical News

In today’s news, Berlin’s three opera houses celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and Brassed Off avoids closure again. Also, Robin Ticciati is appointed music director of the DSO Berlin, and Patten is jailed for murdering pianist Aligizakis

The Guardian

Berlin’s opera weekend: tradition, innovation and orientalism

Berlin’s three opera houses united to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and open their seasons with a trio of new productions by Wagner, Offenbach and Meyerbeer

Classical Music Magazine

Robin Ticciati appointed music director of the DSO Berlin

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin has named Robin Ticciati as its new principal conductor and music director

Classic FM

Man jailed for life for ‘senseless and unprovoked’ murder of pianist

Mark Patten (below left), aged 30 of Thornton Heath, London, has been sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison for the murder of Menelaos Aligizakis (below right), a talented pianist and teacher, who was killed in a brutal attack outside Waterloo Station on 3 January 2015

The Strad

Every violinist must develop an individual voice, says Aaron Rosand

The American maestro discusses the importance of developing a distinctive tone

The Times

Richard Morrison: why conductor JoAnn Falletta deserves to be the world’s favourite maestro

Thrilling live performances of richly varied music — and more people enticed to experience them — are required

BBC

The Brassed Off band make a comeback after avoiding closure again

The Grimethopre Colliery Band’s fight for survival when the coal mine closed in the early 1990s inspired the 1996 film Brassed Off. The band did survive – and now, enjoying a resurgence, are among the favourites for this weekend’s brass band National Championships

New York Times

Mercedes Bass Is Elected Acting Chairwoman of Carnegie Hall

The philanthropist Mercedes T. Bass was elected the acting chairwoman of Carnegie Hall on Thursday, succeeding Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire businessman who stepped down from the post after eight month

concerti.de

„Ich wollte keinen weiteren Geiger mehr erziehen“

Deshalb löste Menahem Pressler 2009 das legendäre Beaux Arts Trio auf – die Bühne hat der Pianist dennoch nicht verlassen

KulturPort.de

Zauber der Barockmusik in Europas kleinster Hauptstadt – Valletta International Baroque Festival 2016

Bereits zum vierten Mal wird sich im Januar kommenden Jahres der Vorhang für das Valletta International Baroque Festival öffnen. Vom 16. bis 30. Januar 2016 erwarten Liebhaber barocker Musik in Maltas einzigartiger Hauptstadt Valletta wieder musikalische Perlen des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, aufgeführt von den renommiertesten Barock-Musikern Europas

El Pais

43 Festival Cervantino: cultura y ciencia en México ante la violencia

El mayor evento interartístico de América Latina impulsa el cruce creación-conocimiento. En el discurso de inauguración, el director del Cervantino, Jorge Volpi, hincó el dedo en los problemas sociales y de violencia que arrastra México

Twitter

The Strad‘In spiccato the player is active and the bow is passive: in sautillé the player is passive and the bow is active’

BBC Radio 3: Music seems to be universal and affects almost everyone deeply. asks why:

Sinfini MusicStop press! Video evidence of page turner indisputably saving the day. Time to update this?

news9thoctWrestling with political and national associations … Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Staatsoper Berlin. Photograph: Bernd Uhlig/The Guardian

(Written on October 9, 2015 )

Classical News

The Guardian

Facing the music: Noah Stewart

Nat King Cole, Nina Simone and New York City – tenor Noah Stewart on his musical passions on and off the stage

The pitfalls and perks of playing a concert hall piano

The tone and touch of a piano might be terrific or terrible, so how does a performer prepare? Pianist Boris Giltburg describes the keyboard of his dreams

The Times

10 things to know about Simon Rattle’s new concert hall

As debate rages about whether London needs a new £200m venue to keep up with the best in Europe, Richard Morrison conducts his own feasibility study

The Strad

Frank Peter Zimmermann forced to hand back ‘Lady Inchiquin’ Stradivarius

The violinist, who turns 50 this Friday, is attempting to buy the instrument, which was previously on loan from failed bank WestLB AG

International Arts Manager

Digital marketing for the arts discussed in free session

The secrets of digital success are being shared at The Art of Digital, a free workshop aimed at arts organisations hosted by arts administration specialists Spektrix and digital agency AD.

Süddeutsche.de

Rattles Wunschkonzert

Diskussion um neue Tonhalle für London

Berliner Zeitung

Berliner Straßenchor feiert mit „Straßen-Carmina“ Premiere

Der Berliner Straßenchor ist ein Chor für Menschen ohne Wohnung, ohne Arbeit, Menschen mit Behinderung, Drogenabhängige oder Prostituierte.

pizzicato

Businessplan für Bonner Beethoven-Festspielhaus vorgestellt

Zwar ist noch nicht gewusst, welcher Architekt das Beethoven-Festspielhaus in Bonn bauen wird, aber der Bau, der komplett privat finanziert werden soll, hat jetzt bereits einen Businessplan, der die Wirtschaftlichkeit des Unternehmens voraussagt.

Classicalite

‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Whiplash’ Top Contenders at Oscars, Alexandre Desplat Wins Best Original Score

Now with the Oscars at a close, the results proved to be a normal get together of acting talent abound.

nprmusic

Composing The Folk Music Of A Made-Up Country

Composer Alexandre Desplat is competing against himself in this year’s Oscars: He’s up for two awards in the category of Best Original Score.

Twitter

Intermusica ‏@IntermusicaLtd :@colincurrieperc & Pavel Haas Quartet at @wigmore_hall at the weekend – more photos here http://ow.ly/Jz1OS 

Bachtrack ‏@bachtrack : Strongly cast revival of Die Zauberflöte at @royaloperahouse @JanaiBrugger @tobyspence

Royal College Music @RCMLatest: Congrats to RCM pianist Luka Okrostsvaridze, chosen for the #TillettTrust‘s Young Artists’ Platform with a recital @wigmore_hall in December

NEWS 24th Piano

‘The finest pianos achieve the best results’ … Boris Giltburg. Photograph: Sasha Gusov

(Written on February 24, 2015 )

Classic FM Online

Eric Whitacre to work with Pentatonix?

The choral composer met the ‘Daft Punk’ singers in London, discussing the possibility of working together

Huffington Post

Tom Hodge On The Nature Of Collaboration

Composer and Pianist Tom Hodge examines the nature of musical collaborations, and specifically, the challenges of writing new music with another person

The Telegraph 

Mt Annan McDonald’s employs classical musical to deter loitering youths at night

With the dulcet tones of Pavarotti and his fellow tenors filling the airwaves, the carpark at Mt Annan McDonald’s has been much quieter in the past few weeks. The McDonald’s store started playing classical musical late at night recently to deter young people from loitering at the store

The Arts Desk

The journey to hell in Theresienstadt

The violinist Daniel Hope introduces Refuge in Music, his new film on the musicians of Terezín

BBC News 

How Martin guitars became an ‘American Stradivarius’

Vintage Martin guitars – the finest of which sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars – are sought after by musicians around the world for their distinctive tone and timeless design

Deadline Detroit

The Diva and the Ducks: Visiting Opera Singer Chooses Urban Farm For Detroit Lodging

Soprano Nicole Cabell is definitely NOT a diva. In fact, she’s explaining why opera shouldn’t be exclusively perceived as an elitist art form

Forbes

The World’s Highest-Paid Musicians 2013

Madonna pulled in $125 million over the past year, making her the highest-paid musician in the world. The bulk of her millions came from the tail end of her MDNA Tour, which grossed $305 million. She augments her income with heady merchandise sales at concerts, as well as her Material Girl clothing line and Truth or Dare fragrance

New Music Box

Audience Cultivation in American New Music

Historically, new music has sought to confront general audiences with unexpected sounds and forms.  The present, however, sees the milieu of new music splintered into factions, each with its own loyal but marginal audience

Classic FM Online

Classic FM Online

 

(Written on November 22, 2013 )