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Separation in the Evening Fire in the Evening for Bassoon and Vibraphone No. 7b and No. 8b from Paul Klee: Painted Songs

Jonathan Posthuma


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About Paul Klee: Painted Songs Paul Klee: Painted Songs is an ongoing series of instrumental chamber works inspired by the visual art of Paul Klee. The series began in 2011 as a composition assignment from my first composition teacher, Luke Dahn, who asked all of his students to compose a work for clarinet and piano inspired by the iconic "Twittering Machine." Over the years, I have added to the series, continuing to draw on the wealth of inspiration from Klee's images, which are filled with musical references, textures, colors, and symbols that closely link musical concepts with his Klee's philosophy of visual art. To me, these pieces are musical settings of visual poetry, hence "painted songs." What continues to fascinate me about Klee is both the diversity and consistency of his total body of work. Throughout his vast career, certain ideas continue to resurface and find new applications. In this spirit, Paul Klee: Painted Songs continues to expand, ever exploring the poetry of his work through musical interpretation. Performing Paul Klee: Painted Songs Each piece within Paul Klee: Painted Songs can be performed separately and is considered an independent, free-standing musical work. But, performers are encouraged to recontextualize these pieces into "galleries." Like a curator of an art gallery, performers can combine these works in any order or number, interpolate them with other works by other composers, or arrange them for different instrumental forces. Some pieces are more flexible than others, but the full work is designed to be self-referential and open to interpretation. As the series grows larger, I have aided "curators" by arranging and composing my own "galleries," multi-movement works that were conceived together, but even these can be rearranged and will evolve as more "painted songs" are added to the series and developed in collaboration with performers. About "Separation in the Evening (Scheidung Abends, 1922) and "Fire in the Evening" (Feur am Abend, 1929) These two paintings, though created seven years apart, are connected by similar titles as well as similar techniques. Klee uses stripes and rectangles of color to express abstract relationships. “Separation in the Evening” uses gradients of color to transition from blue to white to yellow, with a larger blue arrow pushing against a smaller yellow arrow. Within the music, phrases start high, are brought low (blue arrow), but end somewhere in between (yellow arrow), ebbing and flowing through various chord colors as if fighting against gravity, perhaps reconciling or remembering the parting of someone they loved. “Fire in the Evening” is explosive, using bursts of bright contrasting colors arranged in a pleasing array of rectangles. Musically, this work is built from three different tone rows, all of which use the twelve chromatic pitches differently. These tone rows are sometimes traded to the other voice as in a two-part invention or played contrary to one another in inversions to create alarming tonalities that suggest the danger and fascination of a fire burning at night. Note: No. 7b "Separation in the Evening" and No. 8b "Fire in the Evening" are arrangements for bassoon and vibraphone of an original work for tenor saxophone and vibraphone, which appears as Mvts. V and VI in Gallery I. Both movements should be performed together, attacca.


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Separation in the Evening (Scheidung Abends, 1922) No. 7b from Paul Klee: Painted Songs

Jonathan Posthuma, December 2011

Relaxed, Contented; q = 72

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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com

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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com

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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com


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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com

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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com

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Fire in the Evening (Feur am Abend, 1929)

No. 8b from Paul Klee: Painted Songs Jonathan Posthuma, December 2011

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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com


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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com


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© 2011, 2017 by Jonathan Posthuma Demodocus Music Publishing / www.jonathanposthuma.com

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Separation in the Evening / Fire in the Evening for Tenor Saxophone and Vibraphone (No. 7a and 8a)  

from Paul Klee: Painted Songs

Separation in the Evening / Fire in the Evening for Tenor Saxophone and Vibraphone (No. 7a and 8a)  

from Paul Klee: Painted Songs

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