FLORENTINE ARTS ENSEMBLE

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Exploring musical inspiration within the fine arts

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Here is a small selection of the many themes we have produced, inspired by specific art collections. We are often able to use a projector screen to portray and discuss images during our presentation should a gallery space be unsuitable, as well as musical extracts to give a greater understanding of the comparisons between the two art forms.

 

For concert venues we offer a selection of art inspired musical recitals adapted from the projects listed.  

Please get in touch for more information.

Projects

Musical Impressions

Has Impressionist art influenced the composition of music? Can we hear the influences in the compositions of twentieth century? We explore these questions with a unique perspective on the development of Impressionism, from the birth of the movement with the core Impressionist artists such as Monet, Seurat and Renoir through to the post-Impressionist period. With musical offerings from Debussy, Ravel, Szymanowsky and Catoire.  

A Dance to the Music of Time

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Romantic Ideals

Poussin's 'A Dance to the Music of Time' is undoubtedly one of his greatest achievements and is widely considered a masterpiece of complex allegorical figures.  It was given the alternative title of ‘La Danse des Saisons, ou l'Image de la vie humaine’ in a sale in 1845.  The dancing figures have often been associated with the four seasons, and the FAE uses Vivaldi's 'The Four Seasons' to represent this, complemented by the eighteenth century poet James Thomson's readings on this subject, to explore the many facets of Poussin's work.

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The Musical Circle of John Singer Sargent

The cosmopolitan American artist John Singer Sargent was arguably one of the finest portraitist's of his time.  His studies in Paris coincided with the rise of the Impressionist artists for which he developed a fascination, leading to a life-long friendship with Monet and an intimate musical circle of friends with the composers Faure, Debussy and Ravel.

 

We perform violin sonatas by these three musical giants which directly link to his Impressionistic style of painting.  Interspersed are recollections of his pianistic skills from his wide circle of musical friends, including his regular duo partner the American violinist Charles Loeffler, providing us with a unique insight into his musical life.

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German Romanticism was the primary movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and lead to a great flourishing across the arts.  One artist in particular is synonymous with the movement- Caspar David Friedrich.  His extraodinary landscape paintings encapsulate the romantic movement with his intense depiction of nature and symbolism, often with an undercurrent of religious mysticism.

He believed the artist should not only 'paint what he sees before him, but what he sees within him'.  It is this introspection which dominates the romantic movement, and provides fascinating parallels between his paintings and the violin sonatas of Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann.

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Arguably one of the most prolific English romantic landscape painters during the nineteenth-century was the artist John Constable.  His realistic depiction of English pastoral scenes, such as 'The Haywain' has both inspired and entralled countless generations.

 

In this event we explore these wonderfully evocative masterpieces, with a musical selection by two giants of English pastoral composition - Ralph Vaughan Williams and Frederick Delius.

Music of an English Pastoral Scene

 

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Turner, the 'painter of light' is well known for his magnificently dramatic paintings, overflowing with drama and atmospheric colour effects.

But how many of us think of him as a revolutionary whose style laid the foundations for Impressionism?

 

In this event we discuss the increasingly experimental style of Turner's later years, his influence on his contemporary- the composer Debussy and the core Impressionist movement. With musical works by Catoire, Debussy and Szymanowsky spanning Turner's development as an artist.

Impressionism Series: From Turner to Monet

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Canaletto and the Music of Venice

Canaletto's Venetian masterpieces have been described as 'visual concertos', with a brilliance and lightness of touch likened to the virtuoso baroque repertoire of the period.

 

The Florentine Arts Ensemble explore Canaletto's paintings in this event, alongside the music of Venetian composers Vivaldi and Albinoni, performed on original instruments.

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Music and Majesty in the Court of King Louis XV

The Rococo period in music is a brief stylistic transition which tends to be lost in the larger context of the Baroque era.  In this theme, we reveal illuminating coincidences between the violin sonatas of Rameau, Leclair and Mondonville, and Madame de Pompadour - the mistress of King Louis XV.

Dahl's Norwegian Landscape

The work of the great Norwegian Romantic painter John Christian Dahl has been described as a 'golden age' in Norwegian landscape painting, combining the magnificent scenery of his native country with his deep spiritual beliefs.

 

Dahl's paintings are perfectly complimented in a performance of the Norwegian Romantic composer Edvard Grieg's third violin sonata and the work of Johan Svendsen.

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