Writings about Music

A Museum Dream

This morning I had one of those magical dreams we are sometimes fortunate to have. In the dream I was in the immense, bustling lobby of an art museum somewhat like the MET in NYC, which was my favorite place to visit while living in Manhattan, but different. It was an even larger lobby, and the setting may have been European or Russian. I sat down next to an older gentleman, and after a few moments noticed he looked familiar. No doubt, the seed of this dream was planted upon watching an Amazon program last night, which included the luxurious mansion of a person who owned a number of the later paintings of the person seated next to me. It was Pablo Picasso, so it made no sense that he would still be alive except that normal rules were suspended this being a dream. Pablo spoke a little English, and explained that he enjoyed sitting in the center of things, watching the people go by, and he was also fond of a restaurant at one side of the lobby when he became hungry. I asked if it was OK to take a photo of the two of us with my phone, and he acquiesced, one of the images I took being pretty good. It also occurred to me that I should record our conversation, and fumbled a bit with my phone looking for that function. Right now, this is about all I recall of my dream. The overriding rasa was that he was there to encourage me not to get discouraged, and to follow my muse or muses with all my being, undeterred. Picasso has never been my absolute favorite painter, my body chemistry being closer to Wassily Kandinsky and Ad Reinhardt, but he is someone whose work, being stunningly original and perfect, I greatly admire, and without whom the world is unimaginable, including how he assimilated influences from African culture into his paintings and sculptures, related to how I've absorbed elements of American jazz and Indian classical music. Perhaps, too, this dream came about because I just released three new albums of piano improvisations using jazz standards for the first time, my earlier piano improvisations having been based on Indian ragas or pure improvisations, and what I've done is most unusual and unconventional. And no, I have not bothered checking to see if there are any new photos on my phone...

Here are the three new albums I speak of.

Stargirl with Fly Me To The Moon, My Shining Hour, Last Flowers, and Maria

Orion's Hour with There Will Never Be Another You, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and Silk Dyed

Turning Rain with It's A Blue World, Tangerine, and The Lady Is A Tramp.

Another connection just occurred to me. The woman who inspired me to begin playing piano made the most exquisite, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and once told me Paloma Picasso, the artist's daughter, was her favorite jeweler. I later wrote about Jocelyn in On Losing A Piano Teacher.

- Michael Robinson, May 2021, Los Angeles


An emailed response to this essay from someone I had never heard of before!

"thank you so much" (Claude Picasso)

My original idea was to send the essay to Paloma Picasso, but was unable to find any contact information. I did find an email online for the manager of the Pablo Picasso estate who turned out to be Claude, who again I had never heard of before, sending the essay directly to him.


© 2021 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer, programmer, pianist and musicologist. His 199 albums include 152 albums for meruvina and 47 albums of piano improvisations. Robinson has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University Long Beach and Dominguez Hills.