A cycle of paintings and piano pieces

Artist Barry Cooper
Composer Helen Ottaway

The inspiration for Barry Cooper’s series of paintings comes from the European Community of Stones amphitheatre in Frome, Somerset. Each of the 12 paintings – abstract studies on the circle as a form – represents one of the stones and the place from which it originates. Each painting is dominated by one colour or pair of neighbouring colours from the colour spectrum. Helen Ottaway’s piano pieces were written in response to the paintings and take the circle as both an inspirational and structuring device. In the same way that the paintings travel around the colour spectrum the pieces move around the musical keys by a cycle of fifths. One of Helen’s compositional pre-occupations is with creating choreography within instrumental playing and she has developed this idea in several of her piano pieces to date. InRound & Round she incorporates choreographic elements which define circles or parts of circles as part of the playing technique. In performance, Al Morrison’s video footage of the paintings links the visual and the aural in time. Projected as a backdrop, the video journey through each painting accompanies the corresponding piano pieces. Like the paintings and the piano pieces, the video makes a study of the circle.

Performance History
2001, Salisbury Festival
1999, Merlin Theatre, Frome, Somerset

Paintings created 1998, music composed 1999. A boxed set of CD with 12 postcards is available, see our sales page. CD and postcards commissioned 2001 by Salisbury Festival with generous support from the Odin Charitable Trust.