Friday, September 19, 2014

Look and Listen: Braque, Stravinsky, and Cubism

Georges Braque’s Violin and Candlestick

Georges Braque’s Violin and Candlestick, shown above, is an example of Cubism. Stravinsky’s Petrushka provides a musical example of a work that has Cubist tendencies. Listen to this piece while examining Braque’ artwork. Do you think Cubist music effectively complements Cubist art? Can you think of any other piece of music that would effectively accompany this artwork?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cubism in Music: Erik Satie

This week we are exploring Cubism in both art and music. On Monday we looked at Pablo Picasso as an example of a Cubist painter. How do characteristics of Cubism find their way into music?

Erik Satie is an example of a composer who uses Cubism characteristics in his music. His 1917 ballet Parade provides the perfect example of how a composer can portray Cubist ideas within a musical score. The ballet is written by Jean Cocteau with choreography by LĂ©onide Massine. In order to depict the Cubist idea of overlapping fragments, Satie uses jazz elements, a whistle, siren, and typewriter in his score. These features were unheard of at this point in history and audiences did not respond well.

Here are a few excerpts from Satie’s score to Parade. Notice the costumes, set design, choreography, as well as music. Do you enjoy this Cubist work?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cubism and Pablo Picasso

Cubism is yet another type of movement that has a history in both the music and visual art worlds. Pablo Picasso is one example of an artist who employed Cubism in his work. His Guitar Player (1910), seen below, shows how this movement maps itself onto the visual arts.

Pablo Picasso, Guitar Player (1910)

The Cubist style features three-dimensional objects represented on a two-dimensional plane. This is done by using geometrical shapes such as cubes (hence “Cubism”) and overlapping them in a fun, sometimes colorful, way.

On Wednesday we will look at how one composer, Erik Satie, used Cubism in music. Did you know that Picasso actually used this Cubist style of artwork to design sets and costumes for Satie’s ballet, Parade (1917)? Here, we can see music and art working together to contribute to the greater creation.

Pablo Picasso’s Costume Design for Satie’s Parade

Do you enjoy Cubist artwork? Do you have a favorite artist or painting from this period?