The third composition idea I have been working towards is based on a painting by Pietro Lorenzetti, which is being given pride of place in the Ferens Gallery. The painting is a meticulously restored 14th century panel painting, which is being referred to as a masterpiece. As such, the museum were extremely keen to see as many student compositions based around the painting and the room it is situated in.
I decided to focus heavily on the kind of atmosphere in the room, which is heavily dimmed, drawing attention to the Lorenzetti at the far end. There is a bench in the centre of the room, encouraging contemplation and to me the room felt different to every other one in the gallery. To encourage this, I chose to use a slow pace, lengthy notes, and an uncharacteristically clean sound compared to some of my other work.
I also chose to draw heavily on the symbolism of the painting, with three figures, and embedded material in the painting all being tailored to the original context of a grand religious building. The layering of the painting also interested me, as the layers of paint added so much depth to the figures what surrounds them. To do this, I used a lot of musical clichés essentially, making the piece in 3/4 timing, and heavily featuring plagal cadences (IV I) to invoke the sound of what people expect from church music, I also tried to use principles of Bach’s voice leading to retain that characteristic.
To make it my own from this framework, I split the piano part into three voices, played by three separate pianists. This let me have multiple rhythms happening at once, and exploit the space by diffusing the layers of sound around the space, which you couldn’t do on a stereo recording. Things such as a chord being build from left to right were possible from this decision.
The final string in my bow is the hidden fourth performer using a modified version of my Theremin Patch, they will be setting the harmonic content of the players at points in the music, at others just playing as a solo instrument, and having its melodic content set by the keyboard player’s single notes. This is intended to come in subtly, seemingly out of nowhere. The speakers for these would hopefully be positioned around the room, to create a surround effect.