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'Black Gigantic Butterflies'

Charles T. Downey, 21st Century Consort’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ lacked only an audience
Washington Post, February 25, 2013

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Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire (German and English versions), L. Shelton, Da Capo Chamber Players
One of the most influential works of modern music celebrated its centenary this season. Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” an unforgettable atonal song cycle that premiered in October 1912, shattered conventions about how composers treat the human voice. The 21st Century Consort marked the occasion with a performance of the work Saturday at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, for a regrettably small audience.

Soprano Lucy Shelton, who made an excellent recording of the work 20 years ago, gave an authoritative, engaging, even fun rendition of the vocal part, entirely from memory and aided by a microphone. In Schoenberg’s signature Sprechstimme, a rhythmically notated form of recitation, Shelton purred, pattered, hissed, hooted, screamed and growled her way through 21 symbolist poems by Albert Giraud with polished German diction, in a translation by Otto Erich Hartleben. [Continue reading]
21st Century Consort
Arnold Schoenberg, Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds 'Pierrot lunaire' ("Three times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud's 'Pierrot lunaire'"), op. 21 (Andrew Porter's English translation)
Bruce MacCombie (1943-2012), Elegy
Stephen Albert (1941-1992), To Wake the Dead
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Paul Mathews, ‘Pierrot lunaire’: A spry centenarian (Washington Post, March 30)

Anne Midgette, Music review: Eighth Blackbird at Kennedy Center (Washington Post, April 4)


John said...

Charles, I expect that was Mark Jaster, the local mime. I know no Mark "Jester."

Charles T. Downey said...

Indeed. Damn auto-correct (article written in Word). Correction made.