Anita Brown


Anita's Old Blog

A Forthcoming Extended Work

With a recent flurry of inspired musical sketches, I have found myself embarking upon a project for an extended work in three movements; a triptych of symphonic poems for my jazz orchestra. Symphonic Poem: A one-movement orchestral form that develops a poetic idea, suggests a scene or creates a mood. Triptych: A set of three associated artistic, literary or musical works intended to be appreciated together. The concept for this piece was inspired by the artful photographic images of an amateur photographer whose eye for color, light and line is uniquely discriminating and keen. This extended work will take its cues from three photographs; each one spawning a movement and its own musical identity through my filters. The title of this triptych is Slices of the Gradient. Each movement will be named for the photograph it represents: 1. Lily Pads 2. Chac Mol 3. The Fountain While I have been cultivating this idea since April, I have just begun seeking funding for this project, which I know will be something memorable and significant. I haven’t been quite as energized about a creative endeavor as I am about this one since the 2003 recording sessions for Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra: 27 EAST. As I stand at the threshold of this daunting task, I thought it would behoove me to put the word out there in cyberspace. My reasons are two-fold. First, perhaps it will seem a little less daunting to know there are some folks out there walking with me on this journey. Secondly, perhaps it might assist me in connecting with some performing arts organizations and friends who might like to commission a segment of the work. I have recently learned of some very helpful sources for artist support. Conversely, I have never sought financing before and am quite certain there are many more organizations I know nothing of, as I write this. If you are a member or director of a high level performing arts organization and would like to consider such a commission, please contact me using the contact page on this website. You will find a link to Meet The Composer on the links page as well. And, don’t forget to sign the guestbook! The following is a more in-depth description of my anticipated triptych of symphonic poems, Slices of the Gradient. I hope to be able to post the photographs described herein before long. Until then, I hope this stirs your imaginations. Thanks for visiting my blog! Please subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!! ~Anita Slices of the Gradient: Movements and Images The first movement, Lily Pads, will be an interpretation of an image of twenty bright yellow lily pads on black, still water. At the top of the vertical frame the artist shows us the inverted, impressionistic reflection of indigenous brush in hues of deep, hunter green upon the inky indigo of the still water, moving gradually to jet black by the bottom of the frame. Near the left border of the frame there is one, lone hot pink flower. The backdrop of motionless water and highly contrasting subject will lay the foundations for its musical interpretation. The gradations of indigo to black in its background offer a certain mystery, while the viewer is invited to enjoy the beauty of the foreground’s stunning contrast in this existing ecosystem. The seemingly random formation of canary yellow lily pads, whimsically reminiscent in shape of ‘Pac Man,’ is one of ambiguously outlined concentric semi-circles, causing the eye to flit around the image for a focal point. Through its tranquility, the photo conveys a Zen-like, pacific aura, offering the viewer an invitation for contemplative focus. Chac Mol, optionally spelled Chac Mool or Chaac Mol, and pronounced ‘shahk mole,’ is an underwater cavern on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Its translation from Mayan language is ‘God of the Rain.’ Mexico has innumerable underwater caverns frequented by scuba divers of varying levels of expertise. They are fresh water caverns that do not house fish! This second movement, which was in fact the first to inspire musical conception, will offer my impression of this breathtaking place shown through the astonishingly vibrant image of a single, underwater porthole. Again, in high contrast imagery, this photo reveals the physical foreground in black to actually be the image’s background, while its physical background in glorious gradations of turquoise and green with broad rings of reverberating sunlight, pulls the eye deep into the cavern, thereby becoming its main subject. Capturing the natural landscape and three scuba divers in silhouette, the photographer’s sense of line and composition asks the eye to choose between being guided forward into the deep or laterally to the right of the frame. The divers’ unmistakable silhouettes reveal this to be a place unwilling to support human life without appropriate equipment and experience. The final movement is to be based on The Fountain; the photo that first inspired the concept for this work. This fountain is in Melbourne, Australia. Exquisite use of framing and natural light tell the viewer it is a warm, lazy day. With his choices from behind the lens, the artist manages to create high contrast once again by capitalizing on the brilliantly sunlit water, spraying from the fountain’s edifice in pure white. From his position under a gentle canopy of late summer leaves, he emphasizes the sunlight beyond his shaded location, taking advantage of a natural spotlight. Within the vertical image the fountain is mounted nearly symmetrically upon a backdrop of the ornate archway of an impressive building. The canopy of leaves sketches a directive highlighting the significance of the archway while introducing the fountain. While the overall image is not literally symmetrical, careful attention was clearly given to avoid the sterility of perfection while honoring the beauty of symmetry. Hence, we are reminded to notice the striking architecture in the background. The iconic fountain, symbol of life, abundance and civilization, a place where people of all walks of life commune, in this artful framing, curiously has no visitors. As I am drawn into this enticing scene, I can hear the fountain’s white noise, feel it’s misty spray and the breeze, the gentle rustling of the leaves as the artist portrays it as accessible, patient and inviting, yet waiting for everything and nothing. --AB