Twittering Machine

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

General Info

Year: 2017
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: II-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $55.00; (digital) - $55.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bar Chimes
  • Bass Drum
  • Bells/Chimes
  • Brake Drum
  • Cabasa
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Ratchet
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Tom (2)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Inspired by the ambiguous 1922 artwork of Swiss-German painter Paul Klee, this dark piece depicts a powerful struggle between nature and machine. The haunting melody slowly transforms as the threatening machine around it grows, represented by a series of layered and varied percussion sounds. A deeply rich and powerful work for young bands.

- Program Note from publisher

Inspired by the 1922 artwork by Swiss-German painter Paul Klee, this ambiguous music follows the controversy presented in a painting that sets to depict a struggle between nature and machine. While there are many interpretations of Klee’s creation, it is clearly a dark representation of four birds that appear to be shackled to a wire attached to a hand crank. Further, there is a pit below the “machine” and an eerie blueish gray fog surrounding everything. The music seeks to embody this ambiguity, beginning with soft clusters of sound amid the presence of random “machine-like” sounds. As the music develops, a haunting melody appears and soon begins to transform as the music around it becomes more rhythmic and aggressive.

Twittering Machine was commissioned by the Patrick March Middle School (Sun Prairie, Wisc.) and conductor Chris Gleason. All of Gleason’s students researched the painting and offered Balmages their thoughts on its meaning and their reactions to it prior to its composition. Commissioning director Gleason adds: “In fact, it almost feels like we are on a tour of the painting exposing different parts of it sonically.” The machine slowly begins to take over the entire texture before the melody battles back (representing the possibility of nature against machines).

- Program Note from VanderCook College of Music Symphonic Band concert program, 22 December 2017


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

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