Project BACH EASTER ORATORIO
Each season, juniors in the Illustration Department of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design create works of original art in response to a masterwork being performed by H+H that year. H+H Historically Informed Performance Fellow Teresa Neff and an H+H musician work with students to understand the background and composition of the selected work.
In March 2023, a professional jury selected 11 works to display during H+H's performance of Bach Easter Oratorio.
If you are interested in purchasing a piece of art, contact Emily Reed at email@example.com. Artwork will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and students will receive 100% commission for the sale.
In creating my Easter Oratorio piece, In Essence, I decided to try and convey each movement's feeling and sound into a visual form. The piece begins and ends triumphantly, which brought to my mind leaves and flowers sprouting on the borders of the page. The solo flute I imagine as a wise serpent, trailing throughout the piece. It encounters and speaks to the solo vocalists and choir which are each depicted as humans and birds respectively. I tried to allow the music's storytelling to come out through my art rather than relying on the lyrics for direction.
There are many emotions that can be felt and many scenes that can be imagined while listening to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Easter Oratorio. The majority of the piece feels like a celebration. In this illustration, I depict a moment in which the party pauses and everyone goes silent as the Lord reveals himself at the top of the hill. Alerted by the bright, sun-like halo against the dark sky, the musicians rest their instruments while the dancers have a variety of reactions: shock, prayer, celebration.
My digital illustration for the Handel and Haydn Society depicts the scene of a loving goodbye between mother and child. To symbolize the theme of Rebirth, it can be suggested in the imagery that the mother rabbit is creating a pathway for her baby, something to leave behind for her before she goes. The pathway is full of starlight and wonder and will help lead the baby rabbit through her newfound emotions of melancholy. “And the tears of my suffering, it will wipe comfortingly from my cheeks.” - Bach’s Easter Oratorio
This piece is based off of Bach’s Easter Oratorio. I wanted to convey a sense of whimsy both with the character design as well as the background. To bring that together I put the characters in seventeenth century style clothing, and balanced the heads of the characters with some of them being human and others being animals that are associated with Easter. For the background I didn’t want it to be a traditional forest scene with brown bark and green leaves, so I changed the colors to fit the pastel color palette that was previously established with the characters. Inspired by Japanese Woodblock Prints, I decided to keep the colors flat and simple so that they would balance well when combined with the intricate indigo colored line art. As for the story, I wanted to go for and how it matches with the Oratorio. I felt that a whimsical forest party set in the seventeenth century was a great fit for how the music goes back and forth between being slow, somber, and haunting in a way, to fast, joyful, and exciting.
Erin E. Buckley
Acrylic Paint and Colored Pencil on Illustration Board, 850
This piece was done in washes of bright acrylic paint on sturdy illustration board. The piece was created after listening to segments of Bach's Easter Oratorio and capturing the Corfeeling of celebration from the piece. This painting was influenced by the feeling of life, springtime, encapsulates, and the emotion of what it feels like to be surrounded by friends and family. Taking a creative spin on the modern Easter Bunny tradition. Overall, this painting is full of spirit, festivity, and creates a world every viewer can join and enjoy.
Selected by a jury for display at H+H's performance of Bach's Easter Oratorio on Apr 31 and Mar 2, 2023.
Regularly when I begin my creative process, especially when it is based on something overall nonvisual, such as music, I end up with visual ideas about what the music makes me think and feel which often have little to do with the original source material. That was certainly the case with Verna Completo. I enjoy learning about folklore and mythical creatures and stories so influences such as these tend to end up in my work. Thus, a Spring associated piece of music brought to mind faeries and the fey, but unlike how in tales, they are often rather wiley and more trickster associated. The music suggested a softer and more comforting atmosphere. The two-face present are enjoying a warm spring day in each other’s company, laying in the grass under the partial dappled shade of some trees. In my work, I often find myself fascinated by lighting to help push narrative. In this case, the warmth of the yellow greens and the aforementioned dappled light bringing that nostalgic comfort of a fresh Spring day.
Watercolor, Colored Pencil, Gouache, Marker, 400
My piece presents the Lion of Judah with the abstraction of a traditional lion as the collection of the Oratorio’ s orchestral instruments. Laurel leaves are incorporated as the lion’s mane and notoriously represent victory, so I included them as a symbol of crowning Jesus for his victory of overcoming death. The piece’s smooth and peaceful moments are represented by more graphic and colorful patterns with a lively movement. As a celebration of the return of Christ, I wanted my artwork to capture the light brought back to Earth from the heavens and show how that is translated through instrumentation.
Inspired by Mary Magdalene and the ninth movement in Bach’s Easter Oratorio, I chose to portray the discovery of Jesus’ empty grave on Easter morning. In the Aria, Mary Magdalene sings of feeling desperate to find Jesus now that he has disappeared from the tomb, and that her heart is empty without him. I wanted to portray the tumult of joy and shock Mary and the other women felt, as well as the beauty and warmth of springtime around them.
To me, hearing a violin or viola sounds like a fluffle of rabbits running and frolicking in a valley. Rabbits can represent lots of things; comfort, fear, speed, luck, and impending opportunity. The way the bow of the violin slides against the fine “catgut” strings (which are made of animals of prey, like rabbits), emanates a feeling of intensity whether it be deep sorrowful leaps or fast-paced scampering. The likeness of the sounds a violin makes to the behavior of rabbit seem all too similar.
The art was inspired by the words “savior”, “angel”, and “death”. The line “He has risen from the dead,” was also influential towards the making of the piece, as well as the choir-like vocals. I decided to draw an angel in the form of a statue while it's amongst tombstones in a cemetery. Yellow can be seen as the light or joy, as it descends on the figure and cross, representing the joyous news of the returning savior.
Exploring the idea of "life after death," I was inspired by the broad themes of Bach's Easter Oratorio and the biblical story that it tells. Musical performance can also cause interesting movement expressed by the human body, which I took inspiration from as reference for my subject.
This piece was inspired by Bach’s Easter Oratorio, specifically the part Adagio. When first listening through, this part of the piece is what caught my ear the most. To me it felt sad, sorrowful, but as it went on, there was a glimmer of hope. It felt like a main character was finding hope in the middle of the darkness. All I could picture was a beautiful, graceful dancer, swirling around alone, finding her light. It felt bittersweet to me.
There were three emotions that I felt as I was exploring this series: despair, hope, and eventually, optimism. I felt this most in the final two sections of Easter Oratorio, and I wanted to depict these emotions in the form of a story about an avatar bringing light to a darkened world. This was a world that was once barren, bleak, and dead. All who roamed this land were hopeful for a better life, but it always seemed out of reach. It stayed this way until this mysterious being “purified” this wasteland, thus bringing everything back to life.
Watercolor, Ink Brush Pen, Digital
As an artist, I am fascinated by the process of simultaneous growth and aging as it applies to beings and objects in our world. Looking at the music of Bach’s Easter Oratorio, I saw an opportunity to tie this theme to both his timeless music and the instruments it is played with. Bach’s music undergoes an evolution with every performer, listener, and instrument it passes through. It inevitably has distorted from Bach’s vision, but perhaps becoming richer and more majestic in the process of its legacy being added to. This relationship between the individual who sends his creative work out into the world and the people who build its legacy is its own form of social and creative growth and decay, with the two forces linked inexorably. The image of an ornate and labyrinthine pipe organ juxtaposes the individual artist and the community needed to bring such an instrument into existence. The resulting machine gains a majesty and life all its own.
Exploring the tactility of objects and beings is also very important to me in showing their place in the world. The abstract nature of The Organ’s creative embodiment is grounded and made tangible through an exploration of the intricate textures of age and weathering. I favor the unpredictable element of watercolor in defining natural weathering so have used it as the base of my color rendering approach. This is paired with intricate linework, which illustrates the specific mechanisms of the organ. These subassemblies contain allusions to period instruments of the Baroque period, which Handel + Haydn continue to incorporate into their performances bringing the creative cycle of Bach’s music full circle. The Organ itself being constructed of these period tools allows for its own cycle of life and creativity to come full circle. For me, this is the power of Bach’s music and legacy.
Selected by a jury for display at H+H's performance of Bach's Easter Oratorio on Apr 31 and Mar 2, 2023.
When creating my piece, I was inspired by the section “Sanfte soll mein Todeskummer”, from Bach’s Easter piece. Listening to the music, I interpreted feelings of love, longing, and an adventure amongst two people. The sound also was very light and fluttery, reminding me of an angel. I came up with a concept of a mermaid and an angel in love. Their worlds are colliding in an interaction of awe and wonder for one another. They are so different, yet their love has no boundaries.
For my Easter Oratorio piece, I decided to illustrate a classic Easter resurrection scene using a complementary color scheme to portray the contrast within the piece of music. I was especially inspired by the jump between sinfonia and adagio, and I attempted to capture that transition with color. The central figure is the angel which was seen at Jesus’ tomb when he was resurrected, and the three surrounding him are representative of the singers in the piece, and by extension the biblical figures of Mary, John, and Peter. They are celebrating the presence of their Lord as the tomb is cracked open, each on their own way with Mary praying while Peter loudly and expressively proclaims his joy.
Burmese Teak Wood, 350
While listening to the piece. I was inspired visually by all of the wood instruments. While being an illustration major, I am also a sculptor major. Intuitively I knew this piece had to be carved in wood. The combination and duality of illustration and sculpture in my art reminded me of what I listened to. The music resonated with me and this piece is a visual representation of that.
Selected by a jury for display at H+H's performance of Bach's Easter Oratorio on Apr 31 and Mar 2, 2023.
Gouache, Digital, 150
When making this I was pretty adamant on how I pictured my work. I wanted a beautiful scene depicting a soft and calming moment at a lake, which is what my mind envisioned listening to the calmer sections of the piece. If I had gone any other route it just wouldn’t do my mind justice to how it envisioned this moment. For additional inspiration and references, I looked at a lot of Mary Blair’s work as well as old backgrounds used in classic Disney films. I would say this is a beautiful piece I'm happy to say I've made.
This piece inspired by Bach’s Easter Oratorio represents a celebration, a reawakening after a long slumber. It’s inspired by the reemergence of life in the spring after a long, dark and dreary winter, or the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. Parts of the classical piece felt joyful, and others melancholy, which is why I wanted to include a rainy background that’s parting for the blue sunny sky. It’s meant to inspire hope and feel like a breath of relief in the knowing that hard times are over.
Gouache, Watercolor, Liquid Gold Leaf, 500
The subject and inspiration behind the piece were Bach's Easter Oratorio and the artist’s memories of Easter. They wanted to take a more playful route and create a piece what would be enjoyable to create and spark joy in the viewers. While listening to the composition memories of saintly portraits came to mind along with the beauty of stained-glass windows and the imagery of lambs that circulate in the springtime. Wanting to illustrate that feeling of childlike wonder in the music along with its timeless elegance, the artist created a fun twist on medieval saint paintings and replaced the human head of the saint with the head of a lamb referencing the followers of Jesus who viewed him as their Shepherd. They also decided to replace the typical book of scripture held in portraits with the sheet music from the Oratorio for a small detail that continues the theme of whimsy and how music can be just as moving and inspirational as scripture.
I was inspired to create this piece from the story of Easter. I wanted to depict a creature once slain rise again representing Jesus on that fateful day. It is unfazed with the wounds that cover its body. It stands stoically before us willing to forgive the betrayal brought upon it.
My piece started as a pen and ink drawing which was scanned and finished as a digital illustration. The drawing heavily focuses on the emotive and joyous nature of Bach’s Easter Oratorio. The bouncing, peppy brass that jumps and flies reminded me of the quick flapping of wings and the religious implications of the piece are represented by the doves shown framing the figure in the bottom left corner. I thought the presence of some religious symbolism such as the doves and gold ambiance was important to include, but that it was just as important to include an actual musician providing the overwhelming feeling of joy which I hope is provided in the drawing.
After listening to the Easter Oratorio, I was very inspired by the themes of celebration and the consequent calming-down of the first and second movements. Listening to the music, I saw a lavish party in my head and I wanted to make that a reality. I have always been heavily influenced by classical music because it lets my imagination run wild with the instruments. I count myself lucky to be able to represent this beautiful piece of music. Working with Handel and Haydn has inspired me to pick up my flute again.
I created this image as a final piece for the junior illustration class. I wanted to depict royalty based off the music I listened to by adding lots of gold elements and ornamental patterns.
The egg itself is supposed to symbolize the Easter part of this assignment. The pattern and jewels on the egg also give this regal feel along with the horse in the gold platted armor. I hope my audience can see the humor in this piece. This piece is very different from what I normally produce and I hope it is received well.
Traditional Marker, and Pencil (Digitally Composed), 200
I was inspired to create this groovy poster after learning the history behind Johann Sebastian Bach’s composing of Easter Oratorio. Originally written for the birthday of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels, I wanted to conjure up something playful and inviting as if Bach was giving out invitations for the show. I drew inspiration from posters from the 70’s with their blocky text and acid colors putting a retro but modernized twist on this beloved piece of music. I hope this poster will get people hopping to their seats!
This is my visual representation of the “Seele, deine Spezereien” portion of Bach’s Easter Oratorio piece. The calm and whimsical instruments like the flute and the angelic singing makes me think of the forest at night. The calmness of the instruments and singing helps me imagine a scene where the tranquility of nature at night is appreciated by the angelic features that are seen within this illustration.
I used the lyrics as the basis for the piece, specifically honing in on Mary Magdalene’s lines. I also took inspiration from stained glass windows and incorporated Easter lilies and a heart motif to call to the context of the music. It was very fun listening to the music and reading through the lyrics to develop and execute the painting.
This piece seeks to capture the powerful emotions of triumph, lament and astonishment that is present in Bach's Easter Oratorio. I depicted these emotions in a metaphysical way in which the imagery feels on top of, collaged into, or intertwined with the imagery around it. Each section of imagery is meant to represent a different aspect of the human soul and suggests how these motifs may be related to one another. The music notes throughout this piece act as a guide and signifies that music is essential to the human condition.
As I listened to a recording of Bach’s Easter Oratorio, I tried to experience how the music felt laid out, as if I could touch its many layered textures. There was so much happening simultaneously: but, when something is done right, it can seem as though no effort was expended at all. Fluid, effortless, sweeping motion, and then the sudden stillness of a deer in the woods or a lamb in a field. There was an underlying tension throughout where every little detail had to fall perfectly in line for the sounds to come together in their intended harmony. There were moments that felt like chaos, full of life and vigor, that spiraled into one another; stark highs complemented deep lows; and there was the steady rise and fall, the breath of the music, that reverberated with each subtly plucked string. Amidst the vibrant swirls of sound twist golden threads, weaving between each note; this thread keeps them tethered, drawing them ever closer to an internal exhale, a sense of peace.
Althea "Lea" McCrillis
The spirit of spring moved through the music, inspiring this piece that portrays the incoming if the wonderful season.
I chose to do this piece because I was very inspired by Bach’s Easter Oratorio, and while I was listening to it, a very clear picture appeared in my mind. I saw a woman alone in a church, basking in the light of a stained-glass window. I chose to include a stained-glass window because they can be very symbolic depending on what is on them, and in this case it symbolizes rebirth. All the things on the stained glass, such as the lotus, butterfly, peacock, and calla lily, are a symbol of rebirth in different ways. I also wanted to have something in the piece to symbolize music as it was the whole reason for making the piece, so I included a pipe organ in the background. Making this piece was a process and it took a long time to figure out exactly how I wanted it to look, but I’m proud of what I ended up with.
For my piece I used fairies, a symbol of seasonal change, as a way to represent springtime. The blooming flowers, strawberries and gust of wind blowing through the scene express the movement and excitement I heard in the Easter Oratorio, with the two fairies tranquilly waltzing through the environment— a representation of the song’s mix of calmness and joy.
To me, the Easter Oratorio feels like a piece about expedition and adventure. It is both classical and modern, and to represent those ideas I took the idea of a traditional voyager— the knight— and a modern voyage, the space shuttle— combing them into one scene. The knight himself is wearing armor decorated with the story of the Easter Oratorio: “Hell and the devil are overcome, their gates are destroyed ...Open up, your heavens, the splendid arches, the Lion of Judah comes drawn in victory!” The knight’s lower half shows flames and devils, representing hell, his midsection showing the “Lion of Judah” rising from the dead, with the gates of heaven opening for him. The arms represent the earthly plane, and the helmet represents the heavens— or outer space! The knight himself has wings, hinting that he is the “Lion of Judah.”
This work was largely inspired by the back-and-forth between feelings of elation and somberness throughout the Easter Oratorio. Specifically, I was drawn to the shift in tone between the bright opening Sinfonia and the reserved Adagio section as inspiration for the icons of comedy and tragedy in my work. To me, these movements, along with the lyrical text, reflected a key pillar of the Easter story and celebration: the sorrow over Christ’s crucifiction, and the joy at His resurrection.
While my own relationship and background with Christianity is more complicated than ever, I still have love and respect for Christian mythology. After learning that the Oratorio was based on a secular work, I aspired to pay homage to both its religious and secular origins. Rather than the overtly religious images I’d initially imagined, I landed on including symbols of Easter through the foliage, but using an ambiguous figure as the central character in this story.
This painting tells the story of an angel who loves music. She becomes fascinated by a new young composer, sneaking down from the heavens just to get a glimpse of the composer working on his next masterpiece.
With this art piece, I focus on the movement of the song, the great longing of the singer and the gentle flute flowing through the air. I demonstrated this with the medium of watercolor; its light, flowy attributes accentuated the song. The lyrics are “crowning with the laurel wreath will quiet your anxious longing” gave me the image of a goddess-like woman calming a mortal man with her glowing beauty. Her hair is flowing through the air and enveloping the space around her, barely touching the Earth she walks on. She holds herself in the highest regard and the mortal man can only sit there in awe of the glowing goddess that has graced him with her presence.
For this piece I wanted to depict the sense of emotion the music created for me. I felt triumph, joy, a whimsical setting filled with beautiful yellows and glowing candlelight. I imagined a woman dancing alone in a beautiful ball gown, capturing the attention of everyone around her. I illustrated this using dark reds and rich yellows, and having everyone around her be unrecognizable, as she is what the viewer should only give attention to.
For this piece I wanted to depict my interpretation of the resurrection. Narratively I decided to show the moment of the resurrection when Mary Magdalene comes upon Jesus’s empty tomb and realizes he has risen from the dead. I stylized all the figures in a cartoonish and humorous manner to bring the piece some irreverence but also to give the piece a tone of levity. I included the soldiers guarding Jesus’s tomb and had them playing instruments to add to this and give the piece an orchestral feel. Bach’s Easter Oratorio is ultimately a celebration and I wanted to capture that feeling of a lighter tone and still render the characters in my own way. I wanted the characters in the foreground to be rendered in a grounded way while Jesus would be floating and surrounded by vibrant colors and symbols- to show a sense of otherworldliness and divine energy. When depicting Jesus, I drew from a myriad of art historical inspirations of how he has been depicted. And I took care to display some of his most relevant and powerful symbols such as the doves, the Ichthys, and of course the crosses. The symbols surrounding Jesus not only fill up the page but also give the sense of a radiating and triumphant energy that I felt while listening to the Oratorio. I also included the lion of Judah, which I took a playful spin on having Jesus riding the lion as he descends from the heavens, to add to the triumphant feel of the piece and to create a striking image.
My piece was inspired by the words and feelings I got from listening to Bach’s music. A few of the words I wrote were somber, nighttime, dancing, joyous, and nature. Putting all the words together, I Imagined a beautiful and bittersweet nighttime scene in a garden. The dancing figure relives memories of happily dancing with her spouse who has long since passed. I wanted the atmosphere to feel calm, melodic, and private.
I took inspiration from the lyric: "Der Löwe von Juda kommt siegend gezogen!" In English, "The Lion of Judah comes drawn in victory!" The symbol of a lion felt a fitting portrayal of the celebration of Easter, and matched the impression left from the orchestration. Triumphant was the word that came to mind listening to Bach's Easter Oratorio. So, I drew a proud lion, triumphant over the finality of death. The palette of blue-greens and yellows represents spring, but still lends an air of elegance. Pinecones represent regeneration and eternal life, and lilies rebirth, and are incorporated throughout the piece.
Bach’s Easter Oratorio was a huge and electrifying piece of music at the same time that it was small and delicate. At times it felt like it was giving off an ethereal light. In my illustration, I wanted to capture the duality of the song’s precious beauty and epic grandiose peaks. When listening to the oratorio, I struggled to imagine any image that wasn’t bathed in a powerful light, but at the same time the angel creating the light is fragile and easily enveloped in large hands that seem far more powerful than it.
I am a musician, and I am very fond of classical music. My art in general is heavily inspired by classics and ancient art so I was extremely excited to create artwork for Bach’s Easter Oratorio. When listening to the piece and reading the lyrics, I took an interest in the line, “My soul, your spices should no more be myrrh. For only with the splendor of the Laurel wreath will your anxious longing be satisfied.” I was especially inspired by this line and wanted to create a piece that captured the emotion and warmth I felt while reading it.
Oil Pastel, 100
In my work, I enjoy illustrating visuals that are easy for the viewer to take in and understand. Since Bach Easter Oratorio is about Easter, I thought to include the message of rebirth and celebration. The majority of the color palette is reds and yellows to bring a joyful aura out of the illustration. For this piece, I wanted to convey the celebration of rebirth by having a sheep coming out of a fabric, as a way of showing a “new beginning”. The flowers twirling around the composition are meant to give a feeling of movement, in relation to the song.
The Adagio of Easter Oratorio begins with calming sounds of cellos and violin, then comes a gentle flute solo, it feels alone but free. For that, I’ve created an illustration of a fox dancing freely across the field in solitude. The birds in the sky, rabbits, and mushrooms on the fallen tree trunk seemed to be in pairs. However, that does not concern the fox as it continues dancing. Finally, the water reflection completes an image of a violin, where the fox becomes the f-hole; the grass field and tree trunk become the tailpiece and fingerboard; the water ripple becomes the strings; the clouds carve out the shape of the violin itself.
Acrylic, Gouache, 400
I enjoy taking walks around Boston at any time of year, though I am particularly fond of walks in springtime. I often listen to instrumental music while I walk (my family and I have a shared 11 hour playlist of movies and t.v. themes) and the combination of fresh air, exercise, and sound lifts my mood, and helps me to think clearly. This piece is based off of a photograph I took on just such a walk. The sun is setting behind the orange building on the right, and the refracted light glows on the windows and the blooming purple flowers. Bach’s Easter Oratorio alternates between joyous fanfare, and trembling adagios. For me, the light in the distance - the sunlight streaming down the intersection of Avenue Louis Pasteur and Longwood Avenue - is reflective of this joy, while the purple flowers which skirt the building are symbolic of the softness - the adagios - which anticipate this moment.
The daffodil conductor surrounded by calla lilies, the flower of resurrection, dances with the conductor's hands to the melody of spring full of hope of recovery.
Watercolor, Colored Pencil, and Digital, 85
For Bach's Easter Oratorio I wanted to portray the feeling of two specific parts with colors, lines, as well as including the actual sheet music. I chose the trumpet part of Sinfonia, going into the flute part of Adagio, these are the parts of the song I found most intriguing. Especially as I was reading the sheet music, I imagined what colors would go well, as seen, I chose a warm yellow blending into a cool blue. I found these correlated with the feelings of the piece and how it felt.
Upon listening to Sinfonia moving to Adagio, I was overwhelmed by colorful feelings. I wanted to illustrate the details of Adagio as a waterfall and its softer tones as the ground and shadows leading to it. To me, the trees represent the age of this piece, but also the rich and royal intro of Sinfonia. The beautifully orchestrated notes truly brought me to a magical colorful forest where life seems to be blooming. I do not see my piece as a pictorial representation. The meaning is not lying in the forms but rather in the colors.
Inspired by the somber movement with hints of spring colors. In my scene, I wanted to capture the idea of music being a fluid force and surrounding the singer.
Acrylic and Charcoal, 600
Portrait of Bach with imagery depicting a moment from the Easter Oratorio.
When listening to Bach’s Oratorio, I thought about spring and the idea of rebirth, I instantly thought of Mother Nature. The concept of Mother Nature and the animals coming towards her and being able to feel her comfort and warmth, that comes with the welcoming of spring.
For this piece I chose to portray a specific part from Bach's Easter Oratorio. Though the part was incredibly short, it described a beautiful interaction between two figures and an angel. The man is the savior and has just risen from the dead. I wanted to show the woman embracing her savior just as he’s almost done pulling himself from the dirt and just as an angel has come down to speak to them.
"Eve” is a hyper-vibrant representation of spring and tranquility. The idealistic spring setting is a depiction of an “Eden-like” paradise, and the figures represent both the soft beauty of nature and the playfulness and passion of the two singers in “Easter Oratorio”.
As I listened to it, I was imagining how satisfying it must feel to be a part of such an amazing work of talent. The mountain, Mt. Sinai, embodies not only the religious aspect of the piece, it also commemorates those who've worked hard to create a wonderful example of Bach's work. The euphoric beams sprouting from the base represents the momentum of the music, flowing through different acts seamlessly.
Watercolor and Pencil, 600
When listening to this piece, I felt a sense of freedom and excitement for springtime. I wanted to portray that feeling but showing fairies excitedly viewing the first crocus of spring. I tried to tie in the excitement of running from the sadness of winter with a scene of warmth and happiness overshadowing the cold blues in the background.
With this project I wanted to not only visualize the Bach Easter Ontario but also highlight the Baroque instruments used at the time of its writing. Being raised in a religious setting, I heavily associate music and the story of Easter with a physical church. I am showing how music can tell a story, similarly to how stained glass depicts biblical narratives. I incorporate this by having doves carry instruments upward, slowly transitioning into glass.
This drawing is inspired by the course: Adagio from Bach’s Easter Oratorio. During the illustration process I used the slow tempo to guide my pencil strokes. When listening to the course, each time, I imagined it being played over a moment of sadness and uncertainty. This will tie into the figure you see in the peace. The warrior presented in the drawing is on a journey through the woods. He has lost an arm and is marching forward into the dark unknown. The transition from light to dark as shown in the moonlight emanating on the back of this figure. Using the mood lighting and background, I want to portray a busy yet isolated environment. This element coupled with the body language of the figure should make the viewer wonder what is going through the warrior’s mind in that very moment. Lastly, the use of white chalk on black hardboard was a way for me to express my inner thoughts and what I see when I listen to music. When constructing imagery in my head it’s never fully colored or rendered; it's a mass of outlines, Swift and rough lines forming the piece. As I try to replicate this on the hardboard, I would refine some of the gapes and the drawing to better refine the details. The somber flow of the Flute feels like water through a river. This piece when accompanied by the course can be interpreted in many different ways, but there will always be an atmosphere of “uncertainty”.
The lonely flutist is minding its own business, completely unaware of its surroundings. But there’s something lurking, getting louder and louder as it gets closer, until this something is right behind the flutist. Watching, lurking, unawareness, that’s what Adagio means to me.
“Gentle should be the sorrow of my death, only a slumber.” This verse was the starting point for my piece. I was inspired by Easter and more specifically the Latino or Spanish versions of the madonna that I often saw around my house growing up. This piece is supposed to represent the spirit of spring being peaceful.
While listening to Bach’s Easter Oratorio, I was inspired by how angelic the instruments and vocalists sound together. I chose to illustrate angels coming together and playing instruments in Heaven. The instruments I selected are specific to the ones used in the oratorio.
Angels are also mentioned in the recitative where Mary Magdalene sings, “Wir trafen einen Engel an, Der hat uns solches kundgetan”, translating to, “We met an angel who proclaimed this to us”
This is it. The big one. The music alone felt like a big, swelling ocean of emotions, of triumph and excitement with instruments that gave me the sense of a once in a lifetime moment taking place. Something you wish you would happen again, you're not sure will happen again. A meeting of people, friends or strangers, to celebrate something amazing. The religious text that goes along with the Easter Oratorio further confirmed those feelings I heard in the music, and so; I went with the idea of a grand Easter brunch with the King of Kings. If you are religious, it is the son of God, being welcomed and celebrated for his return to Earth alive. If you are not religious, it is the meeting of great, sophisticated animals, coming together in this grand dining hall to celebrate the lion. I had initially been worried this would read too last supper, but I was thankful after finishing the composition and base layout that, to me and my classmates, it did not give enough visual reference to students familiar with the text to read as Jesus' last supper. And I'm extremely grateful for that. This is meant to be the proud hurrah after a battle thought lost, not the sorrowful end of a man's life, it's the beginning.