Mahler Lieder (link in blogroll)
Painting Lieder: there is an added quirk here, in that the name of the composer sounds like the German word for painter – Maler.
1 “Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft”, to me reads “I am loved”. (longing – knowing one is loved even in absence, treasuring the things that remind)
2 “Liebst du um Schönheit”, expresses, in my opinion, the same sentiments as Shakespeare’s sonnet: (affection)
Let me not to the marriage of true mindes,_ Admit impediments, love is not love_ Which alters when it alteration findes,_ Or bends with the remover to remove._ O no, it is an ever fixed marke_ That lookes on tempests and is never shaken;_ It is the star to every wandring barke,_ Whose worths unknowne, though his higth be taken._ Lov’s not Times foole, though rosie lips and cheeks_ Within his sickles compasse come,_ Love alters not with his breefe houres and weekes,_ But beares it out even to the edge of doome:__ If this be error and upon me proved,_ I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
3 “Blicke nicht in meine Lieder”, advises, I think, not to ask for too much, too soon. (trust)
4 “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen”, speaks, perhaps, of what happens when the previous three Lieder are not heeded: love is lost. (respect – and there is no re-spect… re-seeing)
Before starting the painting, I planned to listen to all four Lieder and paint them on the same watercolour paper. The first looked to me like a lime tree avenue and how these sometimes resemble cathedrals. The second felt like a mountain, structured, solid and heavy, with a stream and bird song, but also weather: wind, rain and clouds swirling around. The third is very visual in the words, the text speaks of the cells of a beehive and the music evokes clearly the sound of a busy buzzing bee; in addition I thought I could hear the sound of flowers appearing out of the ground. The fourth starts out dark and brooding but feels lighter at the end even though the words are far from it; so, to me it seemed like an early dawn, still dark, but starting to lighten, carried by the voice.
The first painting (1) was made with less attention to the actual music than I would have liked, so I repeated the exercise twice more.
Looking back at the finished paintings now I can see a figure in the middle of (1) leaning over a basket (or cupcake) with water all around and a Pterodactyl in green next to it. The side near the basket is light and hopeful.
The second (2) painting, in which I tried harder to follow the music rather than my own prepared ideas, the same figure is in the centre, this time the basket seems to have a smiling child inside, the figure seems to be pushing it away. As in the Moses story.
To the left of the figure there is the green, supposedly lime tree avenue, looking more like a Tyrannosaurus Rex head and a river in front as before. Again to me this did not feel authentic as I was following my own thoughts instead of letting the music guide me.
For the third painting (3) I decided to ignore my previous idea of structures.
This one is therefore a little different. To the left is a scene which looks light and radiant with a figure standing in front. Then there is a tree-lined walk, with what look like feet emerging at ground level; a purple face at the far end seems to be blowing a storm at the intruders, as expressed in the third Lied. Beyond this there is rain, or is it tears.