Swansongs: Inspired by Swedish artist Hilma Klint (1862-1944), this cello and piano duet is a commission for Eduard Teregulov and Albina Khaliapova who will feature the work on one of their upcoming programs dedicated to female composers. 

Klint is especially known for her mystical thought, like that of Hildegard von Bingen, but centuries later.  I aim to draw parallels between these two artistic women separated by hundreds of years.  I will appropriate some of Hildegard’s music, where I will weave select quotes into a modern interpretation of mysticism.  Of note, Klint’s work ran parallel to the development of abstract art (such as Mondrian, Malevich and Kandinsky) all of whom were all inspired by the Theosophical movement founded by Madame Blavatsky.  The inner and outer world is important in Klint’s work.  Swans have been a metaphor for one who takes flight from worldly trappings.  She directly references the Chinese symbol of yin and yang which is further highlighted by contrasting color.  While clearly struggling, they also function as mirrors – the white swan could represent femininity and the black masculinity or the spiritual vs. material or the visible and invisible; there is a duality to all of these paintings.  The music will explore balance and imbalance, and other dualities of life.  Though Hildegard was a non-dualist, the two shared many commonalities such as a search for own truth, both members of all female organizations, while Klint allowed hand to be led by spirit (automaticism), Hildegard believed music was the ultimate mode of communication that most closely resembled the angles.

Movement 1: (The Swan) – Hilma’s Symmetry


Duration: 3 minutes

Movement 2: Hildegard

Duration: 3 minutes

Movement 3: (The Swan no. 3): Lock and Key

Duration: 3 minutes

Total Duration (all movements together): 10-12 minutes (can also be played separately)

Clip from movement II: Hildegard at the Baton Rouge Gallery.

Premiere performance, March 2023.

Premiere performance of complete piece in three movements (LSU and SHE Festival, University of Arkansas, March 2023).