• Tan Dun
  • Death and Fire: Dialogue with Paul Klee (1992)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • 2(2pic)+pic(afl).2.2+bcl.2+cbn43314perchpstr
  • 27 min

Programme Note

Some years ago, I went to an exhibition on the painter Paul Klee at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Extremely moved, I decided to write a symphony, which unfolded like a discussion - a dialogue between myself and Klee’s paintings. Though, it is not in any sense a musical description of particular works, the symphony is constructed of many small sections reminiscent of Klee's method and imagined as a complete, continuous whole.

Klee was concerned with finding formal means to embody deep universal feelings without bitterness or pathos, using a sophisticated complexity to make a concentrated simplicity. Line, which in his thinking was associated both with melody and dynamics, was a major element in his work. This is closely related to the Chinese aesthetic, which is linear, non-harmonic, and seeks the soul of the work rather than its surface effects.

— Tan Dun


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Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": I. Portrait
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 1: Animals at Full Moon
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 2: Senicio
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 3: Ad Parnassum
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": II. Self Portrait
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 4: Twittering Machine
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 5: Earth Witches
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 6: Intoxication
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": Insert 7: J.S. Bach
Death and Fire, "Dialogue with Paul Klee": III. Death and Fire

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