Right Bird Left (1965), by Lee Krasner (1908–1984), is paired with two different pieces of music. Which do you prefer, Flutings for Paula (1971), by Leon Kirchner (1919–2009), or the second movement, Allegro con brio, of Dimtri Shostakovich’s (1906-1975) Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67?
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Right Bird Left and Flutings for Paula (1971), by Leon Kirchner.
This art-music pairing and commentary are by Alyson Walbridge.
Click here for a recording of Flutings for Paula
I want you to use your imagination. Picture yourself in a peaceful forest, where all you can hear is the gentle flutings of a bird’s song. Now, imagine your world being turned upside down as that bird’s call turns into an ear-piercing screech. Suddenly, the piercing scream comes to a halt, and the calmness of the bird’s song comes back. How do you feel?
Remember this feeling, because you will experience it again. This sensation is similar to the way you might feel when you listen to Leon Kirchner’s Flutings for Paula while looking at Lee Krasner’s Right Bird Left. There are many similarities between these two works, and, as you will see, these two pieces of art complement each other in a number of different ways.
Look at Right Bird Left, listen to Flutings for Paula, and discover a new way of experiencing art.
For more about this pairing, read Alyson’s essay: click here.
Flutings for Paula is performed by Paula Robison, flute; Ayano Kataoka, percussion. Courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
For a contrasting experience, listen to the second movement, Allegro con brio, of Dimtri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67.
Click here for a performance of the piano trio by Catherine McCurry, violin, Darius Torchinsky, cello, Vincent C. K. Cheung, piano. Used by permission of C.K. Cheung.
This art-music pairing and commentary are by Lauren Walker.
Nature is compressed, its caged energy longing to be released into a greater arena. This is the impression one might have of Lee Krasner’s painting Right Bird Left when listening to the second movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio no. 2. Perceived images of birds in the painting wrestle with their brilliant surroundings, seeking space and freedom. The strident and dissonant color of Shostakovich’s Trio adds a layer of sarcasm to the painting, revealing turmoil in the midst of this feast of colors. The fragments of images compete against each other on the canvas. What will be the result of such determinate chaos? Perhaps in spite of conflict and even in the midst of it, life musters the strength to move forward.
To read Lauren’s essay click here.