THE AMOEBA WEEPS

ABOUT THE AMOEBA

Men of our generation aim, in such extreme cases as that of Webern, at a pursuit of the infinitesimal, which may strike the unsympathetic as a tonal glorification of the amoeba. There is undeniably a touch of the protozoic: scarcely perceptible tonal wraiths, mere wisps and shreds of sound, fugitive astral vapors, though once or twice there are briefly vehement outbursts, as of a gnat enraged. The Lilliputian Fourth Piece is typical of the set. It opens with an atonal solo for the mandolin; the trumpet speaks as briefly and atonally; the trombone drops a tearful minor ninth. (The amoeba weeps.)

Lawrence Gilman, Review of Webern's Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 10,

New York Herald Tribune, 29 November 1926