Music and Architecture

01999-02-04 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was recently looking at photographs of modern architecture in a book by the architectural photographer Julius Shulman and a book about the works of the architect Pierre Koenig, when a thought occurred to me… why is it that in the 1930-1950s, while architects devised brilliant modern houses, especially the houses by Mies Van der Rohe, the above mentioned Pierre Koenig, Marcel Breuer etc., houses that created such beautiful relationships between inside and outside, between light and shadow, shape and form, that while artist like Paul Mondrian and Paul Klee created such exquisite paintings, the composers of Classical Music were creating A-tonal Music, 12 Tone Music, Serial Music, and such…

Where is the musical equivalent of Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion? Where is the musical equivalent of a Mondrian painting? I know there is so much music out there that this music may well exist, but who created it and where can I find it?

Is it because Music is constructed in our minds in time, by our memory? A musical phrase arrives at our ears note after note. Our brain remembers each note and thus creates a melody. The more complex the melody, and the longer the phrase,Ý the harder it is to piece together, and the more training a person must have to understand it. If we add harmony, especially very complex harmony to that it can get pretty hard to construct the music in ones mind. Swing was easy, but Be-bop is a different matter altogether. A Waltz is easy, but Stravinsky is a different matter.

I guess, I miss that immediacy of Architecture and Painting in the modern Classical Music I have heard. I could be wrong….

Another thought: Is it just me or is the art of music lagging behind? Marcel Duchamp created ‘Ready-Made’ art 50 years ago, then Pop Art with its imagery of everyday items like Warhol’s Campbell soup cans followed in the Sixties. In Jazz I have only heard one artist use a similar method so far: Charlie Haden has recorded three brilliant albums with his quartet, that all make use of samples from other material.


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