Paul Klee’s gouache Erzengel (Archangel 1938) was one of his final works. The musicality of the visual composition and the playfulness of his semi-musical black lines over a multicoloured background suggest music, or a dance. The violin scrolls and the ace of spades seem to propose the earthly delights of partying and celebration, but above all, it tells us that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
Archangel is also a celebration of the talents of Jess Gillam. After my Briggflatts and The Keys of Canterbury concerti, and Flare for her ensemble, I wanted to simply celebrate the skills of this indefatigable young musician in a short work that would be both challenging and fun.
Archangel exists in two versions - for soprano saxophone and piano (with thanks to John Lenehan for his help in editing of the piano part) and for the Jess Gillam Ensemble (soprano saxophone, vibraphone, piano, electric bass and string quartet.)