Adkins, Monty (2008) Towards ‘a beautiful land’: Compositional strategies and influences in Five Panels (no.1). In: 2nd SpACE-Net Spatial Audio Workshop, 23 January 2008, Music Research Centre, University of York. (Unpublished)
Abstract

Five Panels (no.1) is an experimental electronic composition that takes as its starting point the classic
(post-1949) abstract paintings of Mark Rothko. As a result, and in contrast to my previous works, Five
Panels (no.1) is more minimal regarding its gestural content and makes less use of teleologically
oriented structuring processes. The work focuses more on the details within each sound and on subtle
shifts in timbre and acoustic space. This article will cover the influence of Rothko and abstract
expressionism more broadly on the work. The spiritual quality of Rothko’s paintings is also
investigated. As essentially abstract works, I am keen to understand how Rothko’s works, and, as an
extension to this, abstract music can communicate a sense of spirituality with specific reference to Five
Panels (no.1). Finally, the immersive quality of Rothko’s classic paintings, due both to their size and
the painters obsessive control over the conditions and placement of the paintings in galleries, is
discussed in relation to the use of surround sound in Five Panels (no.1).

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