Augusta Read Thomas: Klee Musings - Score and Parts [Printed Music]

Augusta Read Thomas
Klee Musings (2016)
for violin, cello and piano
Duration: c.16 minutes
44-page A4 saddle stitched score and 3 A4 saddle stitched parts
NMP 1019
ISMN: 979-0-708129-28-8

Commissioned by The Norton Building Concert Series to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Norton Concert Series. Dedicated with admiration to Susan and Nick Yasillo and the Neave Trio.

Klee Musings is a work in three movements taking the names for each movement from the paintings by Paul Klee: I Triple Marionette, II Cathedrals & III Highways and Byways.

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We find Thomas playing a singularly purposeful brand of fun and games in the Klee Musings, for piano trio. With this work, Thomas joins a small, select group of composers spurred by the art of Paul Klee to conjure up sounding counterparts for his quirky, dreamlike pictures, amongst them Gunther Schuller, Peter Maxwell Davies, Sandor Veress and David Diamond. The opening Triple Marionette finds Thomas pitting Brahms cheek by jowl with Thelonious Monk and bebop in general as the music's fractured, jittery line zig-zags in all directions through all kinds of imaginable twists and turns. The marionettes' progress is predominantly (but not exclusively) monodic, and it finally seems to stutter away into silence before it ends as decisively as it does punctually. The central Cathedrals is a quiet oasis of calm, translucent sonorities, with Thomas' favourite bell-like strokes here finding Debussy and Ravel in quietly congenial company with Bill Evans. The music's immobility is deceptive, however, and it imperceptibly builds to a vibrant climax before subsiding back to its peaceable luminescence. For the final Highways and Byways Brahms resumes his testy, bebop-flavoured mano a mano with Monk along with, one fancies, William Schuman in his nervy prestissimo mode aiding and abetting the music's progress. It's a different kind of progress from Triple Marionette, though. The music is no longer so insistently monodic: there's a more flowing sense of linearity in its trajectory, with pockets of lyricism now more overt. The playfulness continues unabated all the way to another of Thomas' distinctive “stinger” endings, very much in keeping with Klee's jocular imagery.

Copyright © Paul Pellay

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