Rest by the Wayside, by William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), is paired with two different pieces of music; which do you prefer “Oiseaux tristes” (Sad Bird) by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) or Death, by Claudio Nuñez (b. 1959)?
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Rest by the Wayside (1902) and the second movement, “Oiseaux tristes” (Sad Bird), from Ravel’s Miroirs (1905)
This pairing and commentary are by Adam Marchand.
Click here for Ravel’s “Oiseaux tristes”
The Ravel is performed by Felipe Sarro. Piano. This recording is available at Free Music Archive.
Can two portraits tell one man’s story? The combination of William Merritt Chase’s Rest by the Wayside and “Oiseaux Tristes” (Sad Bird) by Maurice Ravel encourage us to contemplate the traveler in the painting and how his surroundings could reflect his innermost self. As the eye travels along the road and the ear hears the development of the music, a new picture of past, present, and future emerges for the traveler. Listen for single bird calls that convey a sense of isolation in the Ravel, as well as the culmination of other birds calling that climax in the middle of the piece, in a chorus like one would hear at first light. Bringing these two impressionist works together combines the colors and textures that surround the man with those presented by Ravel into a new reflection and a new story.
To read Adam’s essay comparing the Rest by the Wayside and “Oiseaux tristes” click here
For a contrasting experience listen to Death (2011) performed and composed by Claudio Nuñez (b. 1959)
This pairing and commentary are by Lauren King.
Click here for the recording of “Death” by Nunez
Recording courtesy of Free Music Archive.
The guitarist sits in an empty room and picks up his guitar. The man in the painting sits in solitude surround by the beauty of the landscape. Vibrant shades of orange, green, purple, and blue dominate the scene, contrasting with the dark colors of the man’s clothing. Sunlight streams through the clouds touching sections of the vegetation illuminating the scene. The melancholic music begins to play, and the viewer delves deep into the mind of the man resting by the wayside. Surrounded by beauty, the man sits, reflecting, unable to move from the spot he is in. The music ends and footsteps are heard fading into the distance.
To read Lauren’s essay comparing the Rest by the Wayside and Death, click here.