Art and Music: Warhol and Grundman

Jorge Grundman

Jorge Grundman © Sergio Cabanillas

Taking the ideas of painter Andy Warhol (1928-1987) as his inspiration, Spanish composer Jorge Grundman (b. 1961) also used his own experience in Spanish pop music to create Warhol in Springtime.

The composer wrote that: ‘The work’s name is in reference to Andy Warhol and so has reminiscences of Pop Art. It is in fact literally a musical collage. Like the famous pictures of Marilyn or of Campbell Soup cans. The same idea repeated, but in different tonalities.’

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Another key part of the work is the duration of 15 minutes, following Warhol’s comment in the program for a 1968 exhibition in Stockholm:

‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.’ Andy Warhol, 1968

The ‘springtime’ in the title refers to the trills in the work, according to the composer.

Untitled from the series Marilyn Monroe (1967) (MoMA)

Untitled from the series Marilyn Monroe (1967) © Baahng & Co

The work was commissioned by the 17th Toledo International Music Festival in 2011. Originally written for flute and piano, it was arranged the same year for violin and piano. The work is dedicated to the Ukrainian composer Nikolai Kapustin, whom he met through the pianist, Daniel del Pino.

Substituting musical variation for colour, Mr. Grundman starts with his initial idea and then transforms it in style, lyricism, virtuosity, and all the other elements in music that let us start with one idea, transform it, metamorphize it, and still have the original remain as the core idea. We hear heroic variations, lyrical variations, variations where the solo instrument comes to the fore, and variations where the piano is the featured performer.

Jorge Grundman: Warhol in Springtime (Vicente Cueva, violin; Daniel del Pino, piano)

Another variation introduced by the composer is that there are no dynamic indications in the work so the players can decide what to do as they feel. Every performance will, therefore, be different. Just as Mr. Warhol created a seemingly infinite series of Marilyn Monroe, un-named and un-numbered, so the musical work can change with every live performance and with every performer.

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