...those pockets of silence... | 2011-12
Introduction
 
On 25 February 1970, the body of the American painter Mark Rothko was found dead in his Manhattan studio. He had overdosed on anti-depressants and cut both his arms with a razor blade. He was sixty-six years old. Rothko had left no note.
 
Many explanations of his suicide were mentioned: his ill physical health, his struggle with depression, his heavy drinking, his lack of inspiration at the time, the recent divorce from his second wife, his disappointments with the art world. In general, connections have been made between the painter’s work and his biography. Rothko himself, however, made clear on several occasions that his art was not an act of self-expression.
 
In his work, Rothko wanted to communicate the basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom. One could say that the human drama is at the heart of his paintings. He had a lifelong frustration of being unappreciated and misunderstood as an artist. The aesthetic theories of art-historians and critics were of no importance to him. In his view, these would only paralyze the mind and the imagination of the observer. Rothko was only interested in a pure human response from sensitive viewers.
 
…those pockets of silence… is a fictionalized portrait of Mark Rothko. All text fragments used in the composition are quotes by Rothko, taken from interviews, letters and lectures. The first section depicts an angry and bitter man who desperately tries to explain himself, mostly by stating what he is not. The second section shows a glimpse of the artist struggling with his creativity. The final section is a somewhat melancholic remembrance of things past.
 
…those pockets of silence… may be considered both a fanciful lie and a respectful homage to the man and painter Mark Rothko.
 
 
Instrumentation
 
    flute / alto flute
    bass clarinet
 
    percussion (1)
 
    tenor
 
    violin 1
    violin 2
    viola
    violoncello
 
Duration
 
    ca. 15’
 
Text fragments
 
    Mark Rothko
 
 
Score sample