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These twenty (mostly very brief) bagatelles were among the first pieces I wrote while on a one-month residency at the Visby International Centre for Composers in Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, in October 2005.
The musical material I use in these Bagatelles I feel relates to my being in Europe (albeit a rather far-flung part) for the first time, and my subsequent reflection on my ‘European’ classical musical upbringing on the other side of the world in New Zealand. At times the music veers into irony, such as the violin caught in a maze of its own making (bagatelle 7) or the pianist unable to stop her rapid motions at either end of the keyboard (no. 14), sometimes to a laid-back jazzy feeling (no. 11) or quasi-improvisation (no 10); there are dance-like numbers too (4 and 19). The set ends with the longest bagatelle, a chromatic meditation over the open fifths of the cello and low register of the piano.
Written while in residence at the Visby International Centre for Composers, Gotland, Sweden