It’s still slapped into the category of “new music”, mostly out of habit, but also in reverence for the profound impact this work has had on classical music for more than a century. Arnold Schoenberg‘s Pierrot Lunaire was a sensation when it premiered in Berlin in 1912. It is one of several contemporaneous settings of the lauded poetry by Albert Giraud, but the most famous by far, with regular performances and an almost hallowed position in vocal repertoire today. The songs spark controversy and strong opinion among both audiences and performers even now, for their stark depictions of it’s characters’ humanity (and the lack of it) and the jarring yet lyrical score.
Those who have witnessed ‘Diva On the Verge‘, the (two)-woman show by soprano Julia Migenes (left) and pianist Victoria Kirsch, most recently at the Odyssey Theatre in Westwood, know that Migenes (sounds somewhat like “McGuiness”) is an extremely rare bird, in or out of the classical world. Deeply talented with a sharp wit and magnetic personality, she transcends labels of voice, style and even ethnicity, allowing her to work very effectively in multiple genres, languages and venues — and cross those boundaries, she does. For all of these reasons, she is the perfect choice for Jacaranda‘s concert on Saturday. ‘Thresholds‘ features works by the most scandalous composers of 1912-13, with pieces by Berg, Webern and the piano/four-hands version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, as well as the Schoenberg cycle. The program boasts some of the finest musicians in the area, which has become the norm for this now-established and highly respected series. Pierrot will be sung in English, which is a rare treat, and well in keeping with the composer’s original intention to make the text accessible to the local audience.
Come ready for anything.