Synchronicity in Purple Minor was commissioned by The Blanton Art Museum at the University of Texas at Austin and was premiered on September 11, 2011 at Memorial Drive UMC in Houston, TX by Nicholas Leh Baker, violin and Faith Jones, viola.
Synchronicity in Purple Minor was inspired by the Synchromy in Purple Minor by Stanton MacDonald-Wright, which can be seen in the American and Contemporary wing of The Blanton Museum.
I love to think of music in terms of color, and, as it turns out, so did Stanton MacDonald-Wright, who, in 1912, founded an art movement called Synchromism. This movement is special to me because it is founded on the principle that color and sound are similar phenomena and can be manipulated in similar ways.
To shed a bit of light on the title, the term Synchronicity was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and refers to an experience of two or more events that are not causally related but work together in a meaningful manner.
The work is in three main sections and is framed by an introduction and denouement. There are three main musical ideas that are prominent throughout the work. First, the quickly oscillating third used prominently in the piece, which, in my conception, resembles both the “dancing” of the colors in the work and their bleeding into one another as the harmonies change. The second major element is the unison string technique, which I conceive to be a temporary concentration of color. The final technique is a quasi-Doppler effect that is created by using quickly alternating pitches while simultaneously getting louder and softer, simulating the way the colors of the painting seem to “pop out” from the surface. All of these elements are stated in the introduction and then developed throughout the work.
I would like to dedicate this piece to my mother, who, incidentally, was born the same day as its completion. (Her favorite color is purple)