Composers In Kandinsky's Reference Photobucket

Wagner (1813 - 1883)


Wagner was a composer most famous for his contributions to the opera. He wrote the scores, libretto, and stage directions for all of his operas. Some of his most famous works are The Ring Cycle, Tristan and Isolde, and Parsifal. Kandinsky references him as the first person to create Gesamtkunstwerk (total art). This of course is not true. Wagner himself, after writing Rheingold, the first opera of The Ring Cycle, attributed Beethoven to being the first to create total art. Beethoven's 9th symphony, last movement, includes Gesamtkunstwerk. Kandinsky and Wagner shared the opinion that the philosopher Schopenhauer had created total art. Kandinsky believed that music was the highest form of art and that any other art form would try to accomplish what music could do without any interpretation.

Ride of the Valkyries

Pop Culture adaptation


Kandinsky’s subject matter, as well as his use of effervescent color so reminiscent of Russian folk art, suggests a nostalgic affection for the land of his birth. The title of the painting is also key; Kandinsky had experienced a synaesthetic epiphany whilst listening to a performance of Lohengrin. Painting, he believed, should aspire to be as abstract as music, with groups of colour relating to one another like sequences of chords in music.

Volga Song

Schoenberg (1874 - 1951)
Kandinsky's mention of Schoenberg is because he represents a tip of the ever progressing triangle. He reinvented the way music would be done completely redoing all the rules. He is the inventor of the 12 tone system. In 12 tone, each note has a set number and cannot be played again until all other notes are played. The system follows a matrix unique to each piece of music.

Example of 12 tone
How to make a matrix

Schönberg's Fünf Klavierstücke, Op.23.

Scriabin (1872 - 1915)
Scriabin relates to Kandinsky mostly because of his synesthesia. Scriabin composed out of his ability to see colors rather than following theoretical harmony and melody. He labeled his notes and chords in the circle of fifths with colors to help the lesser people understand his compositions more. He was an elitist like the above composers and Kandinsky, however he did write some assessable music.
Color Fifths


Mazurka Mazurka Op. 3 No 7

Sonata no. 5, Op 53