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Visual Art - Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2
#539917 02/08/05 06:02 AM
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I'm doing visual art pieces at school based on musical compositions (instrumental). I heard this piece and have played it and it has given me several different visual images. One of my piano teachers has told me that it is about the story of man being buried alive, hence the slow (unconcious) beginning, the agitated waking up, and the large hammering chords of fists pounding the coffin. Finally the silencing towards the end.

I'm going to paint a picture on this song, most likely having something to do with lots of dark imagery and sudden movement.

I also vaguely know that Chopin's Preludes had been associated with a literary figure (George Sand?), but I am not sure and would like to find more about these kinds of pieces.

If anyone out there knows about these types of stories for instrumental music please help me out, I have numerous pieces to do, and it will be quite exciting to see what comes up.

I also have in mind to do Bach's Art of Fugue #9, Chopin's Scherzo #2 and anything else i get suggestions on. (I'm not practicing piano until I get my enriched high school degree, a stupid program that doesnt include music [makes me angry] but i can include music as my theme for visual art.

I really need the support of you guys on this one! I can post the paintings when i'm done and you can see the influences you make on me. thumb

Re: Visual Art - Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2
#539918 02/08/05 08:02 AM
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Wow, I think that this also makes a really cool thread about visual images we get while listening to our favorite pieces.

When I play Op.3 No.2 it always reminds me of a person who has come to the end of their time, and is being chased by death. Initially its presence is there but its uncertain and murky (I play with lots of pedal) then it starts to become very clear and the chase begins. He starts running slowly and then faster and faster, and death gains and gains creating a flurry of sound and then it catches him and the battle begins. The main theme then comes again but it is no longer uncertain and murky it is clear and strong; there is no doubt that death has now caught him. The battle goes on and finally the man gives in and embraces it and passes on.

Hehe, wow what a scary and depressing piece. I'll listen to the other two pieces you suggested and tell you later. Any one else have visual images on pieces that they want to share?

Re: Visual Art - Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2
#539919 02/08/05 04:15 PM
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Hehe, wow what a scary and depressing piece.
Gheez, I guess so if that's the "picture" you see with it!! And the thread originator's was even worse! When I hear it, I don't think of anything terrible at all. In fact, it picks me up somehow. I'm not too keen on this "images from music" stuff I suppose.

Rick

Re: Visual Art - Rachmaninoff's Op. 3 No. 2
#539920 02/09/05 11:28 PM
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Working on this right piece right now, and I never thought of anything even remotely like this image. This is an excerpt from the collection of Rachmaninoff works I have, on the Prelude:

"Rachmaninoff denied that he had any descriptive idea in mind when he wrote this prelude, though it is not surprising that people have thought so, because the music immediately establishes a mood of great seriousness."

I heard that he actually wrote it when he was 18 for some competition. Kind of funny how it ended up being his most famous piece.

Anyway, I basically don't get any mental images from classical music, anyway. A song with words can strike up images, because it is trying to do just that, but classical music seems to just bring out whatever is around me at the time, or fill me with emotion. If I'm listening to a beautiful, soaring, romantic song while walking outside, the sun seems brighter, the trees seem greener, and everything is filtered through a lense of beautiful wonder. If I'm sitting in a totally dark room and listening to a classical piece, then I focus only on that song and those notes--I don't really get much of an image in my head. They're basically just emotion for me, that cannot be found in any other medium.

However, I've found that studying a piece of music makes me look at it in a totally different way. It goes from a piece of art to an intellectual and physical study. Notes that before were just abstract pieces of emotion are now mathematical pieces of information. This revelation is both enlightening and disheartening, because it takes a lot of the novelty out of a piece. Once I know exactly what is going on musically, it seems like a lot of the initial wonder is extinguished. However, it also gives me a new sort of respect for every single note, the dynamics, and all the details that went into making it perfect.

Listening to a piece that I have learned can still be beautiful to me, but because I am never impressed by my own playing, per se, I can never be as impressed with a piece after I have learned it, unless someone else is playing it far better than I could. This piece (Opus 3/2) is a good example, because I was always mesmerized by it when I'd listen to it. I wasn't sure what was going on musically, because I had never seen the score, and never attempted to play it. The changes in tempo and color surprised and fascinated me, because my ear was (and still is) not good enough to tell what was being done on the keyboard to produce the sounds. The entire part in Tempo II always amazed me, because it sounded so extravagant and complex. I wasn't sure what the pianist was doing to create such sounds. Now that I know, it seems fairly simple and straightforward.

I guess that's just the way things go.

Now that I have learned it, I see that it is really quite a simple piece (theoretically) and there is nothing mysterious or surprising about listening to it.

And for me, it isn't a depressing piece at all. It's grave and passionate, but not tragic. I see it as more of a piece that doesn't hold anything back, and lets raw emotion free. It's inspiring, because it builds up with intensity the same way a human heart does, and then finally reaches a great climax that releases everything that has been building up. It's a piece about relief and catharsis, to me.


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