Kitchenette | John Abram

Kitchenette was initially inspired by the remarkable still-life paintings of Juan Sanchez Cotán (ca.1560-1627) known as Bodegones. One such—Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber was of particular interest for its formal qualities. However, I decided against making a piece as an homage to or "translation" of a particular painting, so while the title Kitchenette is a direct reference to Cotán, the music is not connected to any one painting by this or any other artist.
The piece explores the experience of looking at visual art. Much visual art can be seen in its entirety in one instant, very different from music which takes place in time and must be heard right through before we may be able to come to an understanding of it. I was interested in the way a still-life is examined in detail - the eye travels around the canvas, stopping here to examine that flower, there to inspect the brushwork. We start to see connections between one area of the painting and another and we gradually build up a personal interpretation of the piece. See how this reflection in the metal reminds us strongly of another painting from a different era. Eventually we come to a new understanding of the work which supplements the initial impression.

Kitchenette was composed in 2006 for the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, who commissioned it with funds from the Canada Council. It was first performed by that orchestra under the direction of John Morris Russell on February 2nd 2007.


© John Abram 2017