|Name||Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan|
|Birth||7 March, 1872|
|Death||1 February, 1944|
|Music||Joseph Haydn (31 March 1732 - 31 May 1809) - Surprise Symphony|
Piet Mondrian (oringally Mondriaan) was one of the main contributors of the De Stijl movement (also known as neoplasticism).
Around the end of the 20th century, young Mondrian’s paintings followed the prevailing trends of art in the Netherlands: landscapes and still-lives were his preferred subjects, and were chosen from the meadows and polders around Amsterdam (see section below "Chosen Works").
Around 1910 new influences began to appear in his works, including a linear movement that was somehow reminiscent of the Norwegian Edvard Munch. Also, Mondrian started to adopt a colour scheme - based on hues of yellow, orange, blue, violet, and red - that was quite common among the contemporary German Expressionist painters.
With this vigorous painting of considerable size, Mondrian broke away from the national tradition of Dutch painting.
But the most important change happend in 1917 when Mondrian, together with Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck and Vilmos Huszar, founded the De Stijl movement.
The group advocated the complete rejection of visually-perceived reality as subject matter and the restriction of a pictorial language to its most basic elements (straight lines and primary colours with black, white, and gray).
The scope of this new style, that Mondrian called neoplasticism, was to free the work of art from representing a momentary visual perception and from being guided by the personal temperament of the artist.
The vision that Mondrian had moved toward for so long now seemed to be within reach: he could now render “a true vision of reality” in his painting, which meant deriving a composition not from a fragment of reality but rather from an overall abstract view of the harmony of the universe.
A painting no longer had to begin from an abstracted view of nature: a painting could emerge out of purely abstract rules of geometry and colour, and this was, for him, the most effective language through which he could convey his spiritual message.
A few words about the music
This symphony is made of four different movements (the one in the video is the 2nd one, the "Andante").
The nickname, "Surprise", comes from one of the most famous Haydn's musical jokes included in this work: a sudden fortissimo chord at the end of an otherwise piano opening theme during the "Andante".
The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing happened, and none of the following variations repeats the joke.
In his old age Haydn was asked by his biographer Griesinger whether he had written this "surprise" in order to waken the audience. His answer was:
"No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new, and in making a brilliant debut, so that my student Pleyel, who was at that time engaged by an orchestra in London (in 1792) and whose concerts had opened a week before mine, should not outdo me. The first Allegro of my symphony had already met with countless Bravos, but the enthusiasm reached its highest peak at the Andante with the Drum Stroke. Encore! Encore! sounded in every throat, and Pleyel himself complimented me on my idea."