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Towards ‘a beautiful land’: Compositional strategies and influences in Five Panels (no.5)

By Monty Adkins


Five Panels (no.5) is an experimental electronic composition that takes as its starting point the classic (post-1949) abstract paintings of Mark Rothko. As a result, and in contrast to my previous works, Five Panels (no.5) is more minimal regarding its gestural content and makes less use of teleologically oriented structuring processes. The work focuses more on the details within each sound and on subtle shifts in timbre and acoustic space. This article will cover the influence of Rothko and abstract expressionism more broadly on the work. The spiritual quality of Rothko’s paintings is also investigated. As essentially abstract works, I am keen to understand how Rothko’s works, and, as an extension to this, abstract music can communicate a sense of spirituality with specific reference to Five Panels (no.5). Finally, the immersive quality of Rothko’s classic paintings, due both to their size and the painters obsessive control over the conditions and placement of the paintings in galleries, is discussed in relation to the use of surround sound in Five Panels (no.5)

Topics: ML
Publisher: Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts
Year: 2008
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