Pasticcio: Pattern & Imagery from Paul Klee
for cello and piano (1965)
American Composers Alliance, 10 minutes
Pasticcio is an early piece by the composer. Written in 1965, it is in five short movements, each reflecting impressions of a painting or drawing by Paul Klee. The first movement, “Dance of the Grieving Child,” is based on a whimsical drawing in which the sense of grief is perhaps not very deep. Next is “Nightflutterer” (or Moth) which is a short study in perpetual motion. Third is “Reflective”—spare, very quiet, with soft touches of high harmonics in the cello. For solo piano, “Lady Demon” is staccato and accented with occasional outbursts. Lady Demon leads without break into a brief cadenza, for solo cello that serves as a transition to the final movement. “Mask of Fear” begins ominously and loudly in the piano, allowing the cello to continue the freely expressive mood of the transition, and resolves quietly at the end, if with some ambivalence or a question mark.
The first performance of Pasticcio was at the University of Michigan in 1965 and is essentially Elizabeth Vercoe’s Opus 1. It also appeared on her doctoral recital at Boston University in 1975. More recently, the piece opened a concert featuring Elizabeth Vercoe’s music at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee in 2003, a concert which concluded with another piece inspired by the work of Paul Klee, called Kleemation.