Wed, 5/10 | Free, 6:30pm @ Music Hall
925 Bascom Mall Madison, WI
Sound Out Loud’s Encore Performance of
Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”
Featuring Soprano Mimmi Fulmer
Music History Introduction by Lee Blasius
“ Le Pierrot Lunaire is in music what Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is to painting or James’ Joyce’s Ulyssses is to literature. These three revolutionary works, written in the first decades of the 20th century, have completely redefined the accepted aesthetic standards of their time and opened wide new paths to artistic creation.
Le Pierrot Lunaire is a rarely played piece because of the challenge it presents to the singer. Schoenberg uses a vocal technique, the “Sprechgesang,” that combines spoken and singing voice, a formidable task for a singer. “ – Marc Vallon , UW Faculty
American soprano Mimmi Fulmer first performed “Pierrot lunaire” in 1978 at the famed Tanglewood Music Festival. Sound Out Loud is thrilled to be performing this work for the again the guidance of such an experienced & knowledgeable performer of the work. Mimmi and Ric Merritt have crafted a performers’ singing-translation of this work from German to English. Friday, March 17th we will perform it in it’s original German text.
Mimmi Fulmer performs repertoire ranging from early music to premieres of works written for her. Her distinguished career in new music includes premieres of nine roles in eight operas. An expert on Nordic repertoire, she is the editor of a three-volume anthology of songs from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Her discography includes six CDs of American music and a CD of songs from Finland, Sweden and Norway, and she has been included in the Fulbright Specialist Roster in American music.
Excerpt from March performance notes:
“Pierrot lunaire” was composed by Arnold Schoenberg (1874 – 1951) in 1912 and is his 21st Opus. It’s 21 short movements (3 cycles of 7) explore the poetry of Albert Giraud (1860-1929), originally published 1884 in French.
‘Pierrot’ is one of Schoenberg’s last works of “free a-tonality”, before Opus 23 which introduced his 12-tone Serialism approach to composition – forever changing the course of 20th Century music. In this new dodecaphonic democracy, all notes were equal, and weightless of tonicisms. It helped form a great schism in the 20thC between two great approaches to composition: Serialism (eg. Schoenberg) vs Neo-Classicism (eg. Stravinsky). Part of the pre-serialism brilliance of “Pierrot lunaire” is Scheonberg’s invention of sprechstimme. This new vocal technique was a form of speak-singing, which allows for a beautiful ambiguity in pitch – removing Schoenberg yet one more step from tonality. In sprechstimme, the singer glides up and down from one note to another – only ever sustaining three “traditional” pitches in the entire 40 minute piece. All of this results in a dazzling display of colors and orchestrational puissance to tell the tales of this tragic clown.