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Vignettes of Paul Klee : three sketches for piccolo and soprano saxophone

by Natalie Williams (2010)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

Performance by Duo Fujin from the CD Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 43.

Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 43.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Selected works by AMC represented artists, vol. 43.

Library shelf no. CD 2532 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

These three short sketches are based on line drawings by early 20th century artist, Paul Klee. The opening sketch, The Twittering Machine is the subject of previous musical settings, in orchestral works by Gunther Schuller and Tan Dun. This piece for Duo Fujin reflects on the repetitive nature of the machinery depicted in Klee's drawing, while exploiting the upper registers of both solo instruments. Rapid rhythmic interplay and 'twittering' figures are characteristics of this movement.

Klee's Veil Dance outlines a single, faceless figure draped with a soft material veil. The figure is captured in a clumsy dance-step, with arms and legs outstretched, but seeming not to move anywhere. The motion of this piece adopts a similar structure; a slow, waltz-like dance based around a pair of oscillating chords that do not progress harmonically from their appearance in the first two measures.

Final Scene of a Tragicomedy is a satirical parody depicting a single tragic/comedic scene. Klee's drawing portrays four surreal stick-characters, all gathered on a stage around a ladder that fades into the distance behind them. The music reflects the comedic aspect of this drawing; each instrument weaves a series of disjointed and fleeting melodic fragments over an accompanying ostinato in the second voice.

Work Details

Year: 2010

Instrumentation: Piccolo, soprano saxophone (can be substituted with flute and alto saxophone).

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. The Twittering Machine (1'40") -- 2. Veil Dance (1'30") -- 3. Final Scene of a Tragicomedy (2'10").

Commission note: Commissioned by Duo Fujin.. Commissioned by Duo Fujin (Misty Theisen and Mark Ballard) for their 2011 North American concert tour.

First performance: by Duo Fujin — 6 Mar 11. St. Mark's Methodist Church, Bloomington, IN (USA)


Performances of this work

14 Nov 2019: at Belonging and Detachment: An Evening of Australian Instrumental Music (Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music - University of Tasmania).

28 Aug 2017: at BackStage Music - Ashley Bathgate + the music box project (Creative Space 99). Featuring Naomi Johnson, Peter Leung, the music box project.

6 Mar 11: St. Mark's Methodist Church, Bloomington, IN (USA). Featuring Duo Fujin.

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