Blue Drowning

John Woolrich (1954)

Blue Drowning 2005

string ensemble or solo strings

‘I was not portraying the boats, the sand, the horizon, or any other subject matter,’ Sir Terry Frost (1915-2003), one of Britain’s great abstract painters once wrote, ‘but concentrating on the emotion engendered by what I saw. The subject matter is in fact the sensation evoked by the movements and the colour in the harbour. What I have painted is an arrangement of form and colour which evokes for me a similar feeling’. Anything, more or less, can be transcribed from one medium to another. In 1949 Frost transcribed a W.H. Auden poem called 'Madrigal I' into paint, ‘according to my intuitive reaction.’ It was his first abstract (and belonged to Peter Pears for a while). For this work I picked a half a dozen or so Frost paintings, including 'Madrigal'. Most I chose for the image, but sometimes I also found an evocative title (mine is one of Frost’s turned on its head) and wrote music ‘according to my intuitive reaction’. Ron and Penny Howell have commissioned Blue drowning to celebrate Frost’s life and work.’

John Woolrich © 2005

22.6.05: Aldeburgh Festival: Scottish Ensemble/Clio Gould
21.1.06 Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow: Scottish Ensemble
23.8.07 Dartington International Summer School: Trinity College of Music String Ensemble / Nic Pendlebury