Right Bird Left. Lee Krasner.

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?
We want to hear from you. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and let us know which pairing you prefer.

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.


9 thoughts on “Right Bird Left. Lee Krasner.

  1. Sigi Koehler says:

    We have this painting in our museum at BSU in Mucie Indiana, and I worked with this painting with my students often with parts of “Peter and the Wolf.” We also write poems with the painting. I love “Flutings” is also a great paiting with this painting. I’l play it to my students.

  2. Claire Bauserman says:

    I preferred the pairing of this piece with Flutings by Paula. It reminded me of a peaceful yet mysterious jungle. Paired with Piano Trio No. 2, it sounded a lot more chaotic and frantic, even unpleasant at times with dissonance. It seemed to represent the painting’s randomness of shapes and colors.

  3. Keyera Constable says:

    I agree with the second commentary in that Dmitri Shostakovich’s piano trio no. 2 matches this painting the most. The painting looks freeing and colorful. It uses bright colors such as green, pink, orange and purple. The commentator, Lauren Walker, mentions how the painting and music creates a image of birds needing freedom and escape to enjoy their surroundings. When I see the painting, I picture a peacock showing off it’s feathers and running wild in its environment. This piece of music perfectly embodies the mood that the painting creates. It creates expressiveness, vibrance and escape. Another piece of music that goes well with this painting would be “Prelude in C major” by J.S. Bach. There is a sense of freedom in that music as well as a sense of bondage. Nature in a cage and needing escape, like Lauren expressed, would be perfectly paired with Bach’s piece.

  4. Claire Bauserman says:

    For Flutings for Paula, parts of the music seem a bit tribal, and the painting looks tribal in it’s simplicity. I like that the music reminds me of a jungle and the painting looks like a jungle. Maybe Vivaldis Winter could be paired with it also- the piece is intense like the painting is.

  5. Kiersten Cass says:

    Fluting for Paula was a good fit for this painting because it gives a happy vibe and has word painting of birds chirping. This piece reminds me of waking up on a spring morning and hearing birds outside my window. The second piece for the painting also fits the painting very well. But it describes the feelings a little more differently. This piece was faster and and came off as confusing which is what the painter wanted to get out of the painting with all the bright colors and random shapes.

  6. Shelby Myers says:

    Flutings for Paula was a good fit. The different timbres of the flute and the percussion gives a liveliness to the painting. It gives me an image of birds and insects that are in the jungle. It also has moments of peace and tranquility juxtaposing the moments of fear and suspicion. The music is abstract as well. It doesn’t have a distinct form and it has sudden changes in dynamics and tempo. If I were to choose another piece to pair with this painting I might choose the soundtrack to disney’s alice in wonderland. It has moment of whimsey and curiosity like this painting.
    Shelby Myers

  7. Shania Johnson says:

    This painting best related to Dimtri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67. If you look at the painting hard enough you can see shapes of things that you never thought you’ll see in a painting. In the painting, i seen a bowling ball, the Decepicon logo from Transformers, a bird, flowers (of course) and lines. In the music it has parts when its high pitched and it makes you feel happy and you start to see flowers, birds and just bright colors. Then there are times when the the music can have more lower notes playing and it can change the mood and how you look at the painting. That’s when i started to see the Transformers logo and and a bowling. What i really loved about the image is, it made me think, I had to stretch my brain and use my imagination. It provided a nice variety of colors, and lines. I didn’t dislike anything about it, although there wasn’t much space available in the image but that’s totally fine, because all of the space used was worth it. The music went well with the painting and it had me having mixed emotions which i like. It kept my mind going 100mph. I didn’t dislike the music, but i did dislike Fluting’s. I was not feeling that at all! A great song that will go great with this painting is Winter by Vivaldi. It makes me feel happy but then has a twist to it also.

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