Die Badende

for alto saxophone, bass clarinet, harp and string trio

Commissioned by Mark Dutcher and David Ross for an art salon celebrating Kirchner’s Bathers at Moritzburg

When contemplating Kirchner’s “Badende Moritzburg”, I see an oasis of peace, a source of respite from the world’s self-destruction. Conceived at the brink of the near apocalyptic First World War, this painting shows Kirchner’s efforts to encapsulate the feeling of serenity he and his peers found in nature.

The compositional process for my piece was highly intertwined with my continuing exploration of Kirchner’s painting. “Die Badende” is not merely a musical iteration of Kirchner’s work, but rather my own interaction with the emotions therein. The individuals in the painting live peacefully with one another, having shed not only their clothes but also the values of the bourgeoisie. They live in humanity’s eternal sanctuary: nature. As the painting itself captures a single moment, so too does this piece; as a musical still life, the harmonic and rhythmic palettes of the piece are constrained to convey a serene absence of motion.

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