Zeynep Toraman
composition | media arts | theory
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Colorists are epic poets: a slow movement [3 violins, 3 violas, 3 celli, double bass and harpsichord] | 2021
Premiered by Klasik Keyifler in Cappadocia, Turkey





Brandenburg No. 3 lacks a traditional slow movement: instead Bach gives us two chords marked “Adagio,” in-between the outer movements.

Are these chords simply a place-holder for a missing slow movement? Do they index a virtual slow movement whose unfolding is inaccessible to us? Or do they sufficiently embody a slow movement in their own right, and are already complete just as they are?

Is it possible to open up an investigative space in which one can ponder on these questions posed above?

My own investigative process led me to reflect more on color: No. 3, scored only for strings and continuo, is the most homogenous of all Brandenburgs. Due to its material economy, it feels sometimes as though stuck in time. This diverts one’s listening to focus on the minute changes in harmonic and timbral colors. The accompanying piece I present here then offers not an attempt to ‘complete’ No.3 by providing the missing slow movement, but instead a deeper exploration of its enigmatic character and of the elusive feelings of unresolvedness it evokes. In a sense then, what I present here is a catalogue of colors, bound together via a strange formal schema - an exercise in enumerating, an exploration of the border between counting and recounting: To quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, via Brian Dillon’s Essayism,
“He loved the red gold of the sunstone, and the moonstone’s pearly whiteness, and the broken rainbow of the milky opal.”