In 2007 the director of the Franz Marc Museum in Kochel am See, Dr. Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, told me about a newly built museum wing that was to open soon. It was to present recently added collections of paintings by Franz Marc and other expressionist painters, among them Paul Klee.
At the opening of the new wing the museum also wanted to present a new audio guide for children. Dr. Klingsöhr-Leroy had won Bavarian Radio and the publisher Horncastle-Verlag, both in Munich, as collaborators in the project. The idea was to let children themselves interpret and speak about the paintings, a collection of 10 masterworks that the museum director had chosen for them. School classes interpreted the paintings with their teachers, wrote the scripts for the 10 sections of the audio guide, and, with the help of the radio station, produced the recordings.
Dr. Klingsöhr-Leroy asked me if I would write music for the audio guide to set off from each other the sections the children had produced. We decided that I would write short epilogues for each of them.
Conceptualizing my approach I decided that I would write these epilogues so that they would primarily relate to the work of the children and through that, indirectly, to the paintings. Some of the paintings I knew. They are all very famous. However, I did not make an effort to look at them again for this commission. Much rather I listened closely to what the children had come up with. In each of their sections I picked two or three terms or characteristics to which to tie my vignettes.
In the audio piece about Klee's Space of Houses I picked the terms seltsam (peculiar) and leblos (lifeless). The term leblos became the expression marking of this epilogue. Lifeless is also the idea behind the separation of notes by rests and by appoggiaturas. Notes are disconnected from each other and the dynamic marking remains mezzo forte throughout the vignette before it fades away at the end. The two clarinets play together all the time to the effect that the piece is rather a succession of sounds than a melody line that could be sung by a human voice with an accompaniment. The intervals between the two parts are always sixths, never any other intervals, which adds to the fact that there is little development in the piece. I have chosen the sixth because, to me, it is not the most lifeless interval. The fifth for instance would be more empty and less vibrant. The choice of the sixth instead of the fifth is reflecting the peculiarity that the children had picked up in Klee's painting. Another peculiar aspect of this vignette is that the second clarinet plays the higher part which can help to make the piece sound somewhat different. To me even the visual impression of the score resembles the blocks or houses the children describe in Klee's painting.
(Stefan Hakenberg, 2008)