Violinist Dan Flanagan performs his own composition An Animated Street in Autumn next to the eponymous painting that provided inspiration for the work, by Jean-François Raffaëlli (1896).

Jean-François Raffaëlli (1850-1924) was a realist painter, sculptor and printmaker. After winning the Legion of Honor in 1889, Raffaelli shifted his attention from the suburbs of Paris to the city itself.  The street scenes that resulted, like this one, were well received by the public and the critics.  Although considered a realist, this work clearly shows the influence of the Impressionist movement. The painting shows the busy street of Quai de la Tournelle, just across the Seine from Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

The composition features on Flanagan’s new album The Bow and The Brush, which features 14 original pieces for solo violin, composed during the pandemic. The album comprises both Flanagan’s compositions and commissions, and each piece is inspired by a different painting or sculpture.

’When the pandemic shutdown began and we were all stuck at home, like so many musicians, I spent my time playing solo pieces on my violin. I felt happier than most because I did this while looking at the dozens of paintings on my walls I had gathered over many years.

’Combining the two was an inevitability. I began composing pieces inspired by these paintings, then commissioning my favourite composers to do the same. The feelings I experience when viewing a painting or hearing music seem to be generated from the same place, and therefore feel connected. The colours of paint relate to the colours of tone, and the texture of brush strokes relate to the articulation of bow strokes. ’

Flanagan currently serves as concertmaster of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera, concertmaster of West Edge Opera, and instructor of violin at University of California, Berkeley.

The Bow and The Brush is out now on the MSR Classics label.

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