Marilyn Bliss


Year: 1986

Composers: Marilyn Bliss

Description: Veils was inspired by a group of paintings from the 1950s by the great American abstract painter Morris Louis, who was one of the leaders of the Color Field movement. For these paintings Louis devised a technique of staining the canvas, allowing the colors both to mingle and to keep separate their identities, achieving his goal of unifying figure and ground. The results are paintings of delicate, veil-like translucence, which, combined with their large scale, entice the observer to enter. In my orchestra piece, I have translated some of these techniques and images into music. Winds are in pairs and usually appear together, purifying their color; melodic lines in the strings are seamlessly passed from section to section; quasi-canonic passages create increasingly dense, but still translucent, "veils" of sound. Throughout the piece, the principal oboe is the protagonist. It sometimes seems to stand aside, observing, reflecting, only to be swept back into the flow of the piece, and at the climax, seemingly in danger of subsuming its individuality into the ensemble as a whole. But in this way, the oboe-observer sees the piece from within, at last fulfilling the desire of the observer in the gallery.

Performer: Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra

Performer Role:

Video URL:

Category: Recordings