Angelus Novus. 2017. 32′

Coll IMJ, photo (c) IMJ
Angelus Novus by Paul Klee

Libretto by Multiple Authors, adapt. Aylward.
Monodrama with Choreography and Video.
For Soprano, Flutes(s), Oboe, Clarinet(s),
Violin, Cello, Percussion.
Commissioned by Le Laboratoire Cambridge



Angelus Novus is a work in nine through composed movements, oscillating between moments where the soprano sings with single instruments and with ensemble. The work is a monodrama that draws on the writings of DH Lawrence, Plato, Schopenhauer, C.G. Jung, Freud, Joseph Campbell and Nietzsche to explore the human condition from physical, spiritual and psychological aspects.

The work is framed at the beginning by a text by Walter Benjamin that describes Paul Klee’s work Angelus Novus, from which the piece takes its name. The final movement is based on an excerpt from an epic poem by Weldon Kees, A Distance from the Sea, which likens the psychological sensation of memory to the often confusing physical sensation of viewing the depth of the horizon and landforms between. The work is in itself a kind of poem or treatise on the human experience that became a flashpoint for me after experiencing Paul Klee’s work. The work is meant to be a raw exploration of life felt through the lenses of various cultural histories, represented in the pastiche of authors that inhabit the work’s landscape.

Excerpt (Movement V (Secret Memory) and beginning of VI (Anima)

Full Performance: