along the soft trails
Composed by Phil Taylor at the Aspen Music Festival in summer 2015
along the soft trails is a series of short sketches inspired by the paintings of violinist and visual artist Michiko Theurer. Its seven miniature movements reflect upon seven of Michi’s dynamic watercolor-and-ink paintings, each one a portal to a world of brilliant colors and graceful, swirling energy. The inspirational kernels for each movement are diverse and often stacked upon one another—sometimes the musical gestures evoke the abstract dance of lines, balance, and motion I sense in her artwork, while elsewhere I was inspired directly by her subjects, and in other places the music reflects certain atmospheres or hues suggested by the visuals. Three of the paintings reference specific composers and poets, part of a theme of polyphonic dialogues across media that recurs in both Michi’s visual art and her musical performances. In threading those dialogues and inspirations back through another layer, along the soft trails pays homage to the fluid, intertextual give-and-take between art, music, literature, and dance.
Video of sixth movement, "As doth eternity," from Pendulum New Music concert, Grusin Hall, January 28, 2016. Michiko Theurer, violin.
Complete video of along the soft trails, recorded January 2016, Grusin Hall. Michiko Theurer, violin and paintings.