Studio recording of Vermilion for tenor trombone and piano

28 September 2023

The studio recording of Geoffrey Gordon's Vermilion for tenor trombone and piano, after the painting by Matisse, featuring trombone soloist Håkan Björkman (Principal trombone, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe) and pianist Pilar Beltran is now available for streaming on Soundcould.

Vermilion on Soundcloud


Recorded 11 September, Royal College of Music,
Stockholm, Sweden - Sound engineer: Jan-Olof Gullö, RCM.


"I wouldn't mind turning into a vermilion goldfish" said renowned French artist, Henri Matisse (1869-1954), whose predilection for exploring and using colour and composition in unique and vibrant ways fills his paintings with bold colours and techniques associated with the Fauvist Art movement. The thoughts of the painter Paul Gauguin were known to Matisse: writing about art and color, Gauguin said “How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion”. To his students, Matisse spoke not of red or orange, but vermilion. From around 1912, goldfish, which had been introduced to Europe from East Asia in 17th century, became a recurring subject in the work of Matisse. They appear in no less than nine of his paintings, as well as in his drawings and prints. For Matisse, the goldfish came to symbolize a tranquil state of mind and a lost paradise. Visiting Tangier, Matisse had been intrigued to see how people would daydream for hours, gazing into goldfish bowls. In his paintings, the goldfish immediately attract attention, due to their colour: vermilion. The bright red-orange, so evident and seemingly bursting with its components of red and yellow fused in a dense complicated colour, contrasts strongly to surrounding blues and greens, each made brighter by the presence of the other.