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Deborah Pritchard

Kandinsky Songs (2024) - ISCMS COMMISSION

1. Red
2. Green
3. White and Black
4. Yellow
5. Blue

Kandinsky Songs was commissioned by the International Schools Choral Music Society and is a synaesthetic work setting words on colour by the artist Wassily Kandinsky from his book Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1912). Each short movement expresses the differing personalities and moods of colour, beginning with the unbounded warmth of red, resonating and glowing with rich vocal exhortations and triumphant brass. This short prelude makes way for the restful nature of green, with choir and orchestra gliding in canon against elegiac harp. White and black are much more mysterious, reaching up to a world too far above us for its harmony to touch our souls as solo piccolo sings from the heavens. Yellow bursts forth aimlessly with vibrant and energetic flourishes, leading to blue: a heavenly colour that has the power of profound meaning, drifting off into eternity as the choir sing in gentle counterpoint against solo violin.

Kandinsky Songs:

1. Red
The unbounded warmth of red,
rings inwardly with a determined and powerful intensity.

It glows in itself.

2. Green
Green is the most resful colour that exists.

The effect on the soul through the eye,
is therefore motionless.

3. White and Black
This world is too far above us for its harmony to touch our souls,

a world from which all colour has disappeared.
A great silence, like a wall, shrouds white.

But black is like a profound pause,
after which, would seem like the dawn of another world.

4. Yellow
Yellow assails every obstacle,
and bursts forth aimlessly in every direction.

Yellow is an earthly colour, it overspreads its boundaries.
The energy of yellow.

5. Blue
Blue is a heavenly colour,
the feeling it creates is rest.
The power ofprofound meaning, is found in blue.

From Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky (1912) Edited by Deborah Pritchard

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