MODIGLIANI 'S ARM
2222 4331 timp perc hp str
Commissioned by conductor Barry Silverman,
and premiered by South Coast Symphony on
February 4, 2005
Humor — there is a good bit of THAT here. MUSICAL humor, that is.
Modigliani‘s arm is a quirky piece of orchestral tapestry.
It has some odd things, for example the Copeland-esque horse hooves clip-clopping through the Appalachians (approx 06:00).
Then there is that dreamy sequence about a minute in (which actually is pulled from my 1985 student orchestral essay, "Flowers and Stones")
The magical favorite moment? 09:00 ... approximately.
There is pathos here as well — it is not ALL fun and games.
Paul Bodine of the Orange County Register writes:
It's hard to dislike a piece whose composer modestly admits, "I honestly wasn't sure if the beautiful harmonies, ravishing melodies or exciting rhythms would be enough to hold the listener’s attention."
Built around the repetition by woodwinds and brass of a simple cartoonish motif, the “Arm” (the nickname given by the orchestra and conductor while rehearsing the piece for its premiere performance) proceeds like a drunken sailor (painter?) stumbling clownishly down a fiendishly looping street, relieved only now and then by a sweetly lilting memory sounded on the strings. Call it weirdly memorable.
"Modigliani's Arm: YOU, sir, are weirdly memorable!"