Sunday, 28 October 2012

                                    Autumn 1964
                                                    (for Karen)

Autumn 1964
Tom Cullen
Red apples hang like globes of light
Against this pale November haze,
And now, although this mist is white,
In half-an-hour a day of days
Will climb into its golden height
And Sunday bells will ring its praise.

The sparkling flint, the darkling yew,
The red brick, less intensely red
Than hawthorn berries bright with dew
Or leaves of creeper still unshed,
The watery sky washed clean and new,
Are all rejoicing with the dead.

The yellowing elm shows yet some green,
The mellowing bells exhultant sound:
Never have light and colour been
So prodigally thrown around
And in the bells the promise                         
Of greater light where Love is found.

                                                                                             John Betjeman  

                                         The word "Autumn" comes from the old French word  "autompne" or "automne" in the modern language and was later modified to the original Latin word "Autumuns". There are rare examples of referring to Autumn in the 12th century, but more common by the 16th. Before this "harvest" was usually the term used for this season.
                                         Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter in the northern hemisphere in September and for the southern hemisphere in March. It is a season that has inspired artists, musicians and poets for centuries.  Autumn is often associated, for instance in poetry with melancholy. The summer has gone and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn to grey and many people can turn inward physically and mentally.

Detail from Autumn 1964 Oil on Wood 27x80cm Tom Cullen
                       Keats "To Autumn" written in Sept 1819 echoes this sense of  melancholic reflection, but also emphasises the lush abundance of the season. It is also a time of "mellow fruitfulness" and "bounteous fecundity". In the "Wild Swans of Coole", the poet W.B.Yeats referred symbolically to the maturing season as representing his own ageing self.

                     However, for myself, it was the experience of both the intensity and the fantastic variation of colour at this time of year, that eventually allowed the John Betjeman poem "Autumn 1964" to emerge into my art. I didn't intentionally set out to do a painting about the season or even the poem itself. However, I had become interested in poetry as a medium and as part of a group project, began to experiment with transforming the rhytmn and sounds in to marks of colour.

Detail from Autumn 1964 Oil on Wood 27x80cm Tom Cullen
                I used found material - four vertical wood panels, which symbolically began to represent lines of verse, held together by two horizontal pieces at the top and bottom. The layers of browns and ochres which dominate the main part of the piece were completed after a wider pallete range of various colours were formed in the underlay.
                       I positioned the two rectangles and the square in a way that they break up the panels.  This was to convey a sense of linearity and to provide contrast with the looser brushstrokes. To complete this piece, I positioned orange coloured card on the back allowing this hint of colour to shine through the gaps in the panels.
                       Towards the end of this painting and in the weeks that followed,  I began to reflect on Betjeman's vivid description of a bright November day and particularly the lines "Never have light and colour been so prodigally turned around". So this painting emerged as a kind of dialogue to the Betjeman poem and an abstract, symbolic interpretation of this colourful season we call Autumn.

"Autumn 1964" read by Betjeman and set to music by Jim Parker

"Never have light and colour
Been so prodigally thrown around"

"Autumn" from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi

The Four Seasons (Italian: Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Composed in 1723, The Four Seasons is Vivaldi's best-known work, and is among the most popular pieces of Baroque music. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season.

The concertos were first published in 1725 as part of a set of twelve concerti, Vivaldi's Op. 8, entitled Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione (The Contest Between Harmony and Invention). The first four concertos were designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season. Each one is in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones.

At the time of writing The Four Seasons, the modern solo form of the concerto had not yet been defined (typically a solo instrument and accompanying orchestra). Vivaldi's original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the form.

"Forever Autumn"  Justin Hayward

"Forever Autumn" is a song by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass. The original melody was written by Wayne in 1969 as a jingle for a Lego commercial. Vigrass and Osborne, the performers of the original jingle, added lyrics to the song and recorded it for inclusion on their 1972 album Queues. Their interpretation was also released as a single and gained moderate commercial success in Japan, selling more than 100,000 copies and becoming a top-20 hit on the country's record chart.

The best-known version is the recording by Justin Hayward from the album Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. Wayne wanted to include a love song on the album that sounded like "Forever Autumn", and he decided that the best course of action was to simply use the original song. Hayward, of The Moody Blues, was hand-picked by Wayne to sing it (because, Wayne said, he "wanted that voice from 'Nights In White Satin'"), and it was recorded at London's Advision Studios in 1976. The song reached #5 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1978.

 The song begins with music that sounds almost like a medieval pipe tune, and the song is noteworthy for the lines of its chorus:

"My life will be forever autumn Now you are not here"