Music of Surrealism: Desire Unbound

Image via Photobucket and Art Images Library

So, the Museum Music company thought this soundtrack complemented Surrealism.  In their defense, they do make a compelling argument that these composers rubbed shoulders with various surrealists, so why not?  Similar to the Dali compilation I reviewed in another post, they keep to classical music.

Image via Photobucket and ptotti

This album features recognizable songs such Maurice Ravel’s Bolero and Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.  I can understand why the higher-ups made the choice for these two when compiling this soundtrack for the art movement.  While one does not immediately think Surreal when hearing the songs, they do match the grandeur that a Surrealist painting has.  Not to mention that Bolero and Surrealism match each other in their Spanish and French ties.  On Also Sprach Zarathustra, this song has connotations of birth and Surrealism (see Salvador Dali’s egg imagery) often plays with that.

However, Darius Milhaud shows up again with the song Le Carnaval D’Aix for Piano and Orchestra.  A very playful and sprightly song.  If elves and fairies marched to a song, they would march to this one.  I find this track so lively and happy in its execution.  I can understand why the company added this song because this composition has so much going on.  If one looks at a Surrealist painting, they can see a lot of detail.  However, the song has a very anti-climactic ending.  After such energy, the song stops on such a mediocre ending.

Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra has this quiet execution with tinges toward the ominous.  Not as energetic as Bolero and Also Sprach Zarathustra, but nice to listen to.

Louis Durey’s Sonatine evokes this wonderful feeling that one can wrap around themselves while listening to this one.  A spring day personified, this song will make you feel good.  Then again, flutes can do that.

Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for 2 Pianos in D Minor picks the pace back up with a manic energy.  It feels as though the music itself comes at you with incredible force.

Erik Satie’s Relache continues with an over eight minute long song.  However, I am ambivalent towards it.  I do not like it, but I do not hate it.

  Symphonie no. 1 by Arthur Honegger has this very off beat quality to it.  It has this sense of dissonance and quick pace with the occasional stabbing notes.  However, still enjoyable.


The last song, Sonata for Violin & Piano in C-Sharp Minor by Germaine Tailleferre concludes this collection with a duel between piano and violin.  Lovely work.

In short, does this album of music mesh well with Surrealism?  Some do, some do not, in my opinion.  However, as their press release has revealed, I respect their attempt at making historical connections between the aural arts and the visual arts.

Image via Photobucket and harobed216

ETA: Removed and added some words.

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