November 19, 2009

Picturesque

I recently stumbled across a Beethoven quote somewhere which has him saying his Sixth Symphony is "a matter more of feeling than of painting in sounds". The difference in what "painting" means now compared to then brought me up short: what else is something like a Rothko or a Bacon or a Diebenkorn than a "matter of feeling" or affect or, well, visual musicality? Well, it's a lot else, really, but it's still hard to think of "painting" as realistic depiction or something somewhat programmatic in the way it must have been to Beethoven.

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