Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire

Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire image

Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire , October 9 | 7:30pm · Kimball Recital Hall

 Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire (1912) is a landmark of early twentieth-century music. This setting of twenty-one poems by Albert Giraud follows Pierrot, a clowning character from the Italian commedia dell’arte theatrical tradition, as he engages life’s largest issues (love, religion, violence, regret) through the exaggerated lens of post-romantic expressionism. 

The chamber ensemble for this work, conducted by Glenn Korff School of Music professor Jeff McCray, includes GKSoM faculty John Bailey (flute and piccolo), Clark Potter (violin and viola), Karen Becker (cello), master’s student Lucas Willsie (clarinet and bass clarinet), and DMA alumnus Kurt Knecht (piano). These performers collaborate with GKSoM professor Donna Harler-Smith, who presents Pierrot’s most infamous innovation: Sprechstimme, a vocal technique that is neither singing nor speaking, but something between. 

This haunting “recitation” of Giraud’s poetry, cast against the ever-changing colors provided by the small ensemble and set in Schoenberg’s unique tonal language, creates unique challenges for the performers and a musical experience for the audience unlike anything ever heard before.