In his book ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ Kandinsky said ‘colour is a power that directly influences the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.’
My new graphic score, written bespoke for the Hermes Experiment, responds to Kandinsky’s aesthetic with four short studies: ‘Yellow’, ‘Red’, ‘Blue’ and ‘White’ where I have painted a watercolour image for each colour responding to the emotional qualities Kandinsky assigns to them in his book. He describes yellow as a colour that ‘bursts forth aimlessly in every direction, red as having a ‘determined powerful intensity’, blue as being ‘the typically heavenly colour’ and white as being of a world that is ‘too far above us for the harmony to touch our souls.’ In addition to painting these images I have also annotated the score with further ways in which the musicians can emulate the colours through varying musical considerations such as timbre, rhythm, harmony, shape and dynamic. Whilst I am a synaesthetic composer, naturally linking intervals with colour, I am fascinated by the idea that there may some universal ways in which we can all respond to colour through music.
‘Kandinsky Studies’ will be premièred at The Forge on 16th February.