FURIES AND MUSES

FURIES AND MUSES

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basson and string quartet
Instrumentation

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Alternate Title
FURIES AND MUSES for bassoon and string quartet
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
29
Movements
4

Detail

Description

In Classical mythology, the furies and muses had clearly distinguished roles: the furies exacted revenge through ingenious torments, the muses were shepherdesses to the arts and sciences. In pre-Classical times, however, this distinction was not so clear. The earliest sources indicate that the furies and muses were both aspects of the same goddess in her creative and destructive phases.

Furies and Muses is a musical juxtaposition of violence and elegance: throughout the piece, aggressive gestures are suddenly transformed into phrases of great delicacy, and vice versa. In many cases, the affect of the music is the only thing that is changed, i.e., the gestures retain all of their structural characteristics, but with completely different expressive results.

The four movements -- sonata, aria, scherzo, rondo -- all use traditional forms in nontraditional ways. The sonata-form first movement, rather than resolving the differences between its themes, drives them further apart from one another. The second movement is an aria about the desire (rather than the ability) to sing. And while the scherzo that follows fits comfortably within the Classical ABA mold, the music is cartoonish in character, with a mock-heroic duet for cello and bassoon in the middle section.

In the final movement, a distant chorale in the strings is answered by a drunken parody of contemporary pop music. A narcissistic fugue exposition follows: each instrument insists on playing nothing but the subject. After the development and intermingling of these three themes, the piece concludes with a furious bacchanal.

Throughout the quintet, the number three plays a prominent role, particularly through the use of meters, 3/4, 3/8, 3/2, 9/8, etc. This numerological consistency is another reflection of the mythological source: the original furies and muses were always described as trinities, only later becoming trinities within trinities, numbering nine each.

Furies and Muses was commissioned by the 1997 Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival, and premiered there by Jeff Keesecker and the Cassatt String Quartet.

For more information, visit http://www.lawrencedillon.com/furies.php

Comments

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First Perfomance
July 1997 by Jeff Keesecker and the Cassatt String Quartet, Swannanoa Chamber Festival
Recording
TROY513 Albany Records; Jeff Keesecker, bassoon, with the Cassatt String Quartet
Text Language - Non English

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Text Source/Author

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Ensemble Type
string quartet (alone or + inst or voc)
featured soloist
Genre/Theme

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Instrument
bassoon

Files & Media

Audio
dillonfuriesiiixxerpt.mp3
Audio file
Video

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Sample Pages

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$25.50 score
$44.50 set of parts
$59 score and set of parts
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