This edited volume explores the dialogue between art and music with that of mystical currents at the turn of the twentieth century.
The volume draws on the most current research from both art historians and musicologists to present an interdisciplinary approach to the study of mysticism’s historical importance. The chapters in this edited volume gauge the scope of different interpretations of mysticism and illuminate how an exchange between the sister arts unveil an underlying stream of metaphysical, supernatural, and spiritual ideas over the course of the century. Case studies include Charles Tournemire, Joseph Péladan, Erik Satie, Hilma af Klint, Jean Sibelius, František Kupka, and Wassily Kandinsky. The contributors’ unique theoretical perspectives and disciplinary methodologies offer expert insight on both the rewards and inevitable aesthetic complications that arise when one artform meets another.
The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, musicology, visual culture, and mysticism.
Aspiring Towards the Absolute
Corrinne Chong and Michelle Foot
Setting the Stage: A Symbolist Prelude
1. Music and Aesthetic Liturgy in Symbolist Art Salons: The Cases of Joséphin Péladan and Jean Delville
2. Deathbed Conversions, Troglodytes, and Baths for the Brain: Mysticism in the Fin-de-siècle Historical Imagination
3. “En blanc et immobile”: Erik Satie, Mysticism and Whiteness
4. “Josephin ‘Sâr’ Péladan, Charles Tournemire, and Apocalyptic Mysticism
Synaesthesia in Scandinavia
5. Musical Interaction with Finnish Visual Arts: The Composer Jean Sibelius, and Artists Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Oscar Parviainen and Ellen Thesleff
Anna-Maria von Bonsdorff
6. Sexing Parsifal: Gendered Synaesthesia and Transpositions in Hilma af Klint’s Abstraction
Vibrations, Abstraction, and Tonality: Giving Sound Form
7. George Frederic Watts’s “Mesmeric Dolls”: Music and Theosophy in the Painter’s Late Works
8. Composing “Symmorphies”: Chromatism, Astral Vision and Music of the Spheres in František Kupka’s Cosmological Modernism
9. Ringing Cosmos, Returning Souls: Expressions of the Beyond in Webern’s
Five Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10 and Kandinsky’s All Saints Day Paintings
Elizabeth T. Abbate
10. Music as Key to the Beyond: Steiner and Kandinsky’s Scenic Compositions against Materialism
11. Tonality and (the) “Beyond”: Elgar’s Gerontius and String Quartet Piacevole