Brett Abigana- Sketches on Paintings no.2

  • Claude MonetWater Lilies
  • Edgar DegasL'Étoile
  • Jackson PollockLavender Mist
  • Joseph TurnerCastle Norman; Sunrise

In his oeuvre there are two works entitled Sketches on Paintings. The first is for Wind Quintet, and the impressionistic writing at the start of the second is so spare in its textures that I wondered at first whether I was listening to a wind quintet again. But no, Abigana unlike so many American colleagues, uses the full range of wind ensemble coloring, from a couple of solo instruments to the glorious full orchestra. This work is superb, a worthy complement for that other great wind ensemble work inspired by painting, Karel Husa's Les Couleurs Fauves.

Abigana's programme notes deftly catch the mood of each movement:

The first movement, Claude Monet - Water Lilies, is an exploration of sonorites throiugh the ensemble reminiscent of the famous triptych first viewed by the composer at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. Edgar Degas - L'Étoile is a whimsical, dream-like waltz to which ghostly ballerinas in the painting may be dancing. Jackson Pollock - Lavender Mist is a quasi-minimalist piece written specifically to follow the erratic yet graceful movement of the painter as he ceated his works, as seen in numerous videos of his process. Joseph Turner - Norham Castle: Sunrise is a seemingly un-moving contrapuntal fantasy on a simple tapestry of chords meant to evoke the suspension of time and misty lack of clear definition in the painting.

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