I think I was in my late teens when I first heard ‘Concerto for Orchestra’ by Bartok, I now remember thinking that there was something, ‘real’ about the music, original, so dynamic, bound to the earth in a way that would be revealed in later years as I understood more about him and his music. I hear Stravinsky’s music in a similar way maybe it’s the complexity and insistence of the rhythms, I’m not sure.
That first acquaintance with CFO, lead me to search out much more of his music and in fact if I had to choose just three pieces of music to spend the rest of my life hearing, ‘Bluebeard’s Castle’ would be one of them. I’m not a great lover of opera in general, although I do like early opera but Bluebeard’ Castle is an emotional journey I can’t give up on, it truly puts you right there at the heart of a terrible, terrifying relationship, as Duke Bluebeard is gradually revealed as the serial killer/imprisoner he is and Judith, wanting more and more from Bluebeard, is drawn into his world and despite his warnings, eventually can’t help herself. A real journey into the complex emotional tangles men and women weave for themselves. Well worth searching out if you don’t know it, find a version performed in Hungarian.
This painting is concerned with a different work by Bartok, the 1st Piano Sonata (1926), a striking hard hitting rhythmic bomb that apart from the central slow movement never relaxes. The first canvas in the Triptych references the germ of an idea, growing in the composers head as we regard the second canvas, the third canvas finally evolving into the colourful world of folk melody, percussive rhythm and extreme dynamics underpinned by classical structure.
The painting is an attempt to unravel the complexity the sonata presents us with.