3 Pièces d'après Kandinsky
Picc, flute, oboe, E flat clar., B flat clar., bsn., 4 hn., 3 tpts., 2 tbn., bass tbn, tuba, timbales, xylophone, piano, 18.104.22.168.2
These pieces were inspired by three paintings done by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. In writing this work, the composer hoped to provide to the listener some kind of review of the paintings, in the same way that an art critic might write an article in a magazine. In addition, he tried to incorporate some of the literal, visual elements of the paintings into the music in ways he felt might be represented in sound. The first piece is based on the work titled Komposition VII. This work has a wide spectrum of colours and textures, which is reflected in the dynamic motifs of the music. Nicholson tried to capture the painting's isomorphic nature in the orchestration and themes -- some jagged and some smooth, but related. The second piece, after Einige Kreise (Several Circles), begins with crescendi and diminuendi in the horns and tuba emulating the oscillating nature of the circles. A rather dark painting, Nicholson wanted to keep a bleaker harmonic language and explore different small ensembles of instruments rather than the vast orchestra. The piece dissolves with a solo flute twirling the final circles. The final movement, a kind of waltz, was inspired by Komposition VI. There is a clear similarity in style and conception between this painting and the first painting, which is reflected in the music by recycling material from the first piece, slightly altered, bringing the entire work to a close with final flurry.