Related Story: HEAR Modern Music 3 (Scriabin)

Alexander Scriabin, from Sonata No. 6, 1911. Eleni Traganas. Digital Audio Recording. WDR West German Broadcasting Co., Cologne, 2009.


The experience of the hearer is frequently the same during the performance of the works of these two musicians [Mussorgsky and Scriabin]. He is often snatched quite suddenly from a series of modern discords into the charm of more or less conventional beauty. He feels himself often insulted, tossed about like a tennis ball over the net between the two parties of the outer and the inner beauty. To those who are not accustomed to it the inner beauty appears as ugliness because humanity in general inclines to the outer and knows nothing of the inner.

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Music played a tremendous role in Kandinsky's conception of art and its purpose, and he discussed music extensively in Concerning the Spiritual in Art. He held music to be the most pure art form because it was tied to nothing but itself. In his attempts to free painting from "merely" imitating nature, he repeatedly turned to music as example and analogy. In the same way that musical notes or keys could bring about certain emotions, so too could certain colors. Compositions could be riotous or calm, improvisations or studies.

From the Closer Look in the Art Institute of Chicago app, available for iOS devices through the iTunes Store.