A PALETTE OF WORDS, TONES, AND COLOURS Страница 10 of 13
Seven notes and seven colours – that was the scheme used by Isaac Newton (1643-1727), which is still valid today to denote the main rainbow colours. As a matter of fact, his colour value of the note F was green but the note C correlated with the red colour, unlike the white in Tranströmer, while the connection between the optical spectrum, in Newton’s views, and the phenomenon of the human perception of colours was identified and analyzed by J.W. Goethe (1749-1832), for whom physics gave way to aesthetics, just like Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944) who created a system of meaningful associations of colours, concepts and perceptions, opening vistas to unsuspected spiritual realms and to unknown worlds. The same aspirations prompted the inquisitive mind of composers like Alexander Skriabin (1871-1915) whose colour-music evoked an understandable interest in Tranströmer. Each of the twelve tones of the octave in his symphony Prometheus has its own colour (F and C are red), whereas for Nikolaj Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) C is white, just like for Tranströmer. He and Skriabin wrote their scores on the basis of the principle one tone – one colour, while the French poet symbolist Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) revealed the belonging of the word to the audio-visual projection in poetry, which comes to reiterate the profound linkage and the synonymy he traced out between vowels and certain colours, introducing in this trilateral relationship its typical components, such as the rhythmic features of poetic speech and the specific combination of sonic elements indispensable in its metrics. There is, of course, also the phonetic structure of the language in which poetry is written, with its euphony. This is seen very vividly not only in classical but also in modern poetry, Swedish poetry, for example, in its specific melody for instrumentation of the artistic expression. Examples to this effect can be found in the works of, say, Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974), Harry Martinson, or Gunnar Ekelöf who make use of these peculiarities of their native language. Unlike them, Tomas Tranströmer does not seek to employ the phonological specificity of the Swedish language; instead, he strives for musicality interwoven in the structure of the poem itself, in the speech the colour characteristics of which open up opportunities for associative imagery and symbolism, as well as for interpretation. Thus he demonstrates his remarkable gift to transform this trilateral unity into a magical world, into a poetic universe made up of and charged with impulses from the art of music verbalized and enriched with the expressiveness of corresponding colours whose value and representation, as indicated above, are symbolic rather than chromatic.