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Influence of Paul Klee

The composers interest in visual sources culminates in the group of five works based upon the art of Paul Klee, composed over an eleven year period between 1962 and 1973. The first of these was Overtones (1962), whose title refers to a line drawing by Klee depicting a seemingly random assortment of objects, encapsulating the somewhat disparate relationship between the movements of the work. A number of Klee's paintings and drawings provided the source material for the music here, most of which suggest movement of some kind. Orgelberg, Op. 50 (1971), for organ, finds ApIvor using three paintings by Klee which have an architectural suggestion in their titles: Town with watchtowers, Lagoon city and Flagged tower. Exotic's Theatre Op. 52 (1972), a set of ten pieces, derives aspects of its composition from a single picture by Klee depicting ten "very curious figures at least four of which appear to be children or babies, posturing or attitudinising on wires or lines of the gamut and bearing strange symbols, clefs, scrolls, suns or sextants." The large orchestral work, Resonance of the Southern Flora, Op. 54 (1972) is notable for its sizeable exotic percussion section in timbral response to the visual impact of Klee's conglomeration of coloured squares. A part for SATB chorus is also included, mostly using single vowels and consonants, save a brief passage of Lorca, which is set towards the end of the work. Psychopieces, Op. 55 (1973), the composer's final Klee-inspired endeavour, is a virtuosic work for clarinet and piano dealing with eight psychological states suggested by eight pictures.

The 1960s and 1970s also saw the composition of four more stage works, of which the most substantial are the two operas, both to libretti by ApIvor, after late nineteenth-century French authors: Ubu Roi, Op. 40 (1966), based on the play by Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) and Bouvard and Pécuchet, Op. 49 (1971-74), based on the unfinished novel by Gustave Flaubert (1821-80). Both reflect the composer's interest in comic opera discussed in relation to She Stoops to Conquer, here transplanted to the context of the Theatre of the Absurd. The cantata, Chorales, Op. 38 (1964), a partial setting of 'The Secret Sea', by the English poet Hugo Manning (1913-77), represents a continuation of the composer's preoccupations with mysticism and spiritual transformation.