KANDINSKIJ E SKRJABIN, Realtà e utopia nella Russia rivoluzionaria ed. Akademos 1996, pagg. 176.

Review by Alice Bertolini, in Suonare News, luglio/agosto 1996, pp.55

Is Do red or white ? Is Fa diesis blue or green ? Once upon a time, and also upon a place, in the history of music, these questions did not seem to be as pointless as we could think today. Between 19th and 20th centuries, in Russia, the most varied answers came from famous artists: Skrjabin and Rimskij Korsakov among the musicians, Kandinskij among the painters. The climax of a series of experiments on the sound-colour relation  corresponded to Skrjabin’s visionary score of Prometheus or Poem of Fire, which involved the use of the clavecin à lumière, an instrument realized purposely to produce colours corresponding to the twelve degrees of the chromatic scale. Orchestra conductor, composer and musicologist Luigi Verdi recalls this intense period of Russian culture which proved to be a melting pot for unrepeatable artistic experiences. His analysis focuses on two key characters of that time. Kandinskij and Skrjabin did not each other personally, but some hints reveal some familiarity with each other’s artistic languages: if Kandinskij used to play to piano and the cello and to lend musical terms, Skrjabin used to illustrate his compositions with diagrams and graphs. The analysis of their writings shows that they had developed a very similar conception of art each other, so that a parallel reading of the texts clarifies the thought of both. By means of a deep study and with the help of some colour illustrations, the volume presents original ideas on the relation between music and painting.

Alice Bertolini


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