Museum Pieces 2001, 20′

bassoon, string quartet

Available from Subito Music

Adagio Cycladic Female Figurine
Largo sensuoso e puritanico “Reclining Nude”, Amédéo Modigliani
Andante tranquilo “ A Maid Asleep”, Johannes Vermeer
Scherzo: presto possibile “The Harvesters”, Breughel the Elder

Performance by

Kinor Quartet and Frank Morelli, bassoon

Each movement of Museum Pieces is about from one of my favorite things at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For the Cycladic female figurine, placidly undulating music evocative of the ancient Aegean alternates with a ritualistic fertility dance of thumping rhythms. The viola is Modigliani’s sensuous Reclining Nude, while the other instruments are puritanical Peeping Toms, shocked by what they spy through the keyhole, even as they become gradually more aroused. Vermeer’s “Maid Asleep at the Table”: what is she dreaming about? The figure in the foreground of “The Harvesters” is utterly collapsed. Constantly driving, uneven meters characterize last night’s barn-burner of a barn dance that left this fellow flattened.

The music for Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” is patently sexual, with a shimmering viola solo symbolizing the title figure. (Violist Paul) Silver made the most of his opportunity, beautifully delineating languor, desire and tristesse. Disjunct meters and rustic airs give a humorous spin to Breughel’s “The Harvesters.” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette