New Pictures at an Exhibition for Solo Piano
Music by Seymour Bernstein
Poems by Owen Lewis
Musicians and critics have referred to New Pictures at An Exhibition as a modern day masterpiece. Beginning with a preface about the connections between the paintings, poems and music, and continuing with reproductions of paintings that inspired the music and poetry, Seymour Bernstein considers New Pictures at An Exhibition to be his most important composition to date. The Reclining Woman is a brooding , 12 tone piece expressing the grief of the woman in the painting. At the Moulin Rouge has alternating meter, is waltz-like with can-can quotes. The Dream has improvisatory, dream-like qualities. Mezzetin, in the painting is playing a Baroque guitar, and the piece is a siciliana with ornamentation. Chez Chagall is based on Klee’s Twittering Machine with whimsical and exhuberant music. The Madonna, arioso captures the serenity of the painting. Redemption is a slow, melancholy piece with shifting tonality which reflects the emotions of Erna Freelander when she was escaping Nazi Germany and passing through a quaint French village. Guernica’s music and poetry depict the Basque town in Spain which was earmarked for saturation bombing destruction by the Germans and contains lamentations reflecting the tragedy and grief of war. The Epilogue is a peaceful and serene ending.