Visual images have been merged with musical expressions in several formats,
including today’s popular music videos and films like Walt Disney's Fantasia.
In Fantasia, classical works of Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy are
amalgamated with modern cartoons and characters.
In Nathan Krämer’s illustrations of Scenes From Childhood, the fusion of music and vision is represented in a careful marriage of the two arts. Krämer expresses this as: music and visual art are assimilated in my mind; I see art in a musical way and music in a visional way.
His thirteen illustrations are not depictions or representations of the titles that Schumann created, but rather an expression of musical form, texture, mood and style. The slower pieces of the Schumann works, “Dreaming” and “Child Falling Asleep,” are depicted by Krämer in subtle, subdued forms and textures. The illustration of “Frightening” represents a more complex image of shapes and rhythms. The illustrations and the music are meant to be enjoyed together as an audiovisual composition.
The creation of Scenes from Childhood reflects Krämer's own scenes from childhood. As a child, he was fascinated by the upright grand pianos that he encountered. Opportunities to view the inner works of the piano in action sparked his imagination and interest in music. His fascination with collecting and organizing items of unique aesthetic interest led to the dismantling of discarded pianos for use as material in the illustrations.
As in Schumann’s musical work, the illustrations have been developed as variations of a master design drawn from imagery in Krämer's childhood. The vertical line symbolizes the upward direction in life, and the horizontal line symbolizes the plane where life exists in the present. The circle symbolizes unity, and the triangle symbolizes the harmony of the world. Life is lived at the center of the design: in harmony and unity and in the past, present, and future.