Kyle Gann in PostClassic has a long post about American art and music, American Romanticism: Music vs. Painting, with a discussion of what was new and specifically American in the Hudson River School of painters, and then in comparison how little original their contemporaries among composers were:
“Their music is a pale imitation of the European aesthetic of their day. In vain one listens to their symphonies, tone poems, piano pieces, and string quartets, for a new feeling for melody, a new sense of form, a departure from Europe. They were timid. Their emphasis was not on a bold new beginning, but on a sense of correctness, a balance learned rather than created, and a desire to impress. At their very best – as in, say, Chadwick’s string quartets – one finds an energetic smoothness, but even here the music seems to plead, ‘Look – I followed all the rules. Isn’t that enough?’ “
When I told my friend Pat Ross-Ross that I have started to paint in oil, and thought both landscapes and portraits were interesting to try, he mentioned The Group of Seven, and suggested I looked at the works of these famous Canadian painters, to see if my idea of Northern landscapes resonated with theirs. Yes, maybe. And then I read that some of the painters in the Canadian Northern school were inspired by the Scandinavians of a generation before them… If I understood this right.
The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm will host an exhibition in the autumn 2006, with works by romantic and early 20th century landscape painters from the Nordic countries. (The exhibition is in Helsinki this summer, starting in Stockholm on 30 September, will be in Oslo in spring 2007, comes to Minneapolis in the summer 2007, and then last stop is in Copenhagen in the autumn 2007)