Fantasies in Line and Color

(Five American Paintings)

Elie Siegmeister

Publisher: Carl Fischer Music
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

After years of putting to music many forms and shapes of the American experience, I realized there was one aspect I had not touched on. In various compositions, I had produced musical reflections of the West Virginian hills, the streets of New York, the Western plains, the black earth of Illinois, and settings of our poets: Whitman, Frost, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, e.e cummings. My music also included stage works on American themes: Sing Out, Sweet Land for Broadway, Darling Corte, The Mermaid in Lock Na. 7, Night of the Moonspell (Shakespeare in Cajun country) for the opera house. But I never composed anything reflecting American painting.

Of all the arts outside of music and theater, painting has moved me the most. In Shadows and Light (1975) I paid homage to the great Albert Ryder. Late in 1980 I conceived of an orchestral work dedicated to five other American painters, and on May 20, 1981 completed the score of Fantasies in Line and Color. The title reflects the free, dream-like styles of the paintings concerned.

In listening to the five movements of the new composition, it is important to realize that they are in no sense literal equivalents of the five paintings. A muted horn does not represent the color purple, nor a sustained oboe the curving horizon. In Beethoven's words, my music is "Mehr Empfindung als Malerei" - "More feeling than depiction."
The five movements of the Fantasies are:

1.The Peaceable Kingdom (Edward Hicks). The image is a famous one by one of our finest primitivists, painted in the early 1800's. The music suggests a tranquil scene - something long ago and far away, with long, flowing folk like lines, perhaps related to some of my early works such as Ozark-Set or Lonesome Hollow, but with an '80s inflection.

2.Cat on the Back Fence (John Sloan). This is a painter I've always loved for his light

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Fantasies In Line and Color - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Commission Commissioned by grant from the GTE foundation
Composition Date 1981
Duration 00:21:00
Orchestration 3(Fl.2-3 dbl. Picc.) 3(dbl.E.H.) 3(Cl.2 dbl.Eb Cl. / Cl.3 dbl.B.Cl.) 3(dbl.Cbsn) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 4Perc. Pno. Cel. Hp. Str.
Premiere October 19, 1985. Stamford Symphony Orchestra at the Palace Theatre of the Arts


I. The Peaceable Kingdom
II. Cat on the Black Fence
III. Circus Forms
IV. Solitude
V. Coney Island: Battle of Lights