MOONDRUNK
Musiche di Schönberg, Strauss, Brahms

Soprano: L. Shelton
Ensemble Da Capo
Pianoforte: S. Rothenberg
Danzatori: J. Kelly, B. Allen, J. Kinzel
Coreografia: J. Kelly

New York, Lincoln Center

english language

Una novità nella stagione di musica classica di New York èl’abbonamento alla serie New Visions, inserito direttamente nella stagione GreatPerformers del Lincoln Center. Con questa iniziativa per la prima voltaproduzioni di opere contemporanee e barocche sono presentate al di fuori del contesto diun festival, nonostante nella stagione Next Wave della Brooklin Academy of Music,nel Seriuos Fun del Lincoln Center e nel nuovo festival estivo si sianovisti già molti di eventi di questo tipo. La prima proposta di questo gruppo di cinquespettacoli era una versione ambiziosa di Pierrot Lunaire di Arnold Schönbergideata dalla pianista Sarah Rothenberg. Le altre proposte di New Visionscomprenderanno una versione scenica di tre cantate di Bach interpretate da Lorraine Huntcon la regia di Peter Sellars, i Kindertotenlieder di Mahler, il poemaanglo-sassone Beowulf e infine un evento con Jessie Norman ed il coreografo Bill T.Jones. Com’è ormai consuetudine per spettacoli di questo tipo, una conferenza dimezz’ora precede ogni rappresentazione.

Come testo per Pierrot Lunaire, Schönberg scelse ventun poesie,ciascuna di tredici versi, da una raccolta più ampia del poeta belga pre-dadaista AlbertGiraud (1860-1929). ( Moondrunk, il titolo di questo spettacolo, è la traduzioneinglese del poema iniziale, Mondestrunken.) Già nell’Ottocento alcunicompositori francesi e tedeschi avevano usato parti vocali per metà cantate e per metàparlate, ma nessuno aveva ancora proposto un lavoro che seguisse questi principi per tuttala sua durata. In ciò che sarebbe diventato lo stile del cabaret, i solisti diSchönberg parlano, cantano e glissano le note con un’intensa stilizzazionecomparabile forse solo con le ornamentazioni di certa musica antica. In realtà, momentialtamente drammatici di opere erano stati composti ad imitazione dei primi melodrammi, maerano esempi brevi ed isolati. Con questo lavoro, Schönberg non solo accumula ilpatrimonio ereditato di strutture tonali e armoniche, ma anche le idee relative allavocalità.

Sarah Rothenberg ha riunito i magnifici musicisti dell’ ensemble Da Capo di Houston, il soprano Lucy Shelton e tre ballerini guidati da JohnKelly. Gli strumentisti sono già rinomati nei loro ambiti, per esempio Rafael Figueroa èprimo voloncello dell’orchestra del Metropolitan. Questi ultimi sono riusciti araggiungere la giusta fusione tra la necessaria precisione ed il respiro tardo-romanticoche è insito nella concezione di Schönberg.

Vestita con una lunga tunica fin-de-siècle e con un fascinosoturbante, Lucy Shelton scivolava facilmente ed in modo convincente attraverso la pièce,dando un’interpretazione più composta di altre in disco. Alternava momenti nei qualisi adagiava in una chaise longue d’epoca ad altri in cui stava in piedi,esprimendosi con gestualità stravagante.

Se dal lato musicale la serata si dimostrava di alto livello, la messa inscena non illuminava in alcun modo il testo. Tre ballerine vestite da prostitutecomparivano da dietro una tenda spingendo davanti a sé delle scope. Nella coreografia diJohn Kelly cominciavano quindi a scapicollarsi su un’impalcatura di tre piani.

Solo pochi tra il pubblico entusiasta sembravano preoccupati di quanto lacoreografia contribuisse pochissimo ad illuminare l’aasurdità del testo. Per fortunauna diapositiva con una grande luna sullo sfondo ci ricordava il titolo della pièce.

Nell’intento di illustrare la visione di Schönberg della musica chelo aveva preceduto, la prima parte del programma era dedicata a sue trascrizioni di operedi Brahms e di Johann Strauss.

Il pubblico, numeroso, alla fine ha applaudito tutti gli interpreti.

David Lipfert

 

Moondrunk

Arnold Schönberg: Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21 (1912)
Strauss-Schönberg: Kaiser Walzer, Op. 437 (1889/ arr. 1925)
Brahms-Schönberg: Intermezzo in la minore, Op. 118, No. 1 (1892)
- Andantino in do diesis minore (1894)
- Andantino grazioso in fa maggiore (1894)
- Intermezzo in mi bemolle minore, Op. 118, No. 6 (1892/3)
- Frammenti da Sechs kleine Klavierstüke, Op. 19 (1900-1906)
Wolfgang Goethe: Erlkönig (lettura di Alexander Moissi,
registrato a Berlino, 1927)

Soprano: Lucy Shelton
Flauto: Carol Wincenc
Clarinetto: David Krakauer
Violino: Guillermo Figueroa e Andres Grams
Viola: Toby Appel
Violoncello: Rafael Figueroa
Pianoforte: Sarah Rothenberg
Danzatori: John Kelly, Barbara Allen, Jon Kinzel

Da un’idea di: Sarah Rothenberg
Coreografia e regia: John Kelly
Scene: Scott Pask
Costumi: Donna Zakowska
Luci: Jennifer Tipton

Performed in German
15 January 1999

One novelty of the New York classical music season is the New Visionssubscription inserted directly into this year's Lincoln Center's Great Performers lineup.This marks the first time that stagings of contemporary and baroque classics are presentedhere outside of a festival context, although Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave andLincoln Center's own Serious Fun and new summer festival have seen many such events. Thefirst offering in this five-part group was an ambitious version of Arnold Schönberg'sseminal "Pierrot lunaire" conceived by pianist Sarah Rothenberg. Other NewVisions events will include staged versions of three Bach cantatas sung by Lorraine Huntand directed by Peter Sellars, Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulfand an event with Jessie Norman and choreographer Bill T. Jones. As has become customaryfor events of this kind, half-hour lectures precede each show.

As the text for "Pierrot lunaire", Schönberg selectedtwenty-one poems--each thirteen lines--from a larger series by pre-Dada Belgian poetAlbert Giraud (1860-1929). (This program's title Moondrunk is the English translation ofthe initial poem, Mondestrunken.) Although nineteenth-century French and German composershad occasionally used half-speaking/half-singing for voice against, no one had yetproposed a full-length work like this. In what would become cabaret style, Schönberg'ssoloist speaks, sings and slides on pitch with an intense stylization perhaps comparableonly to certain Early Music ornamentation. True, highly dramatic moments of operas and artsongs had been done in imitation of the earlier melodrama, but these were brief andisolated. With this work, Schönberg not only the inherited tonal and harmonic structurebut also accumulated vocal concepts.

Ms. Rothenberg brought together the superb players of Da Capo ofHouston ensemble and soprano soloist Lucy Shelton with three dancers led by John Kelly.The instrumentalists are noted in their own right, for example Rafael Figueroa isPrincipal Cellist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. They were able to achieve theright blend of necessary precision with late-Romantic shimmer that is integral toSchönberg's conception. Costumed in a turn-of-century long gown and fanciful turban, Ms.Shelton glided easily and convincingly through the piece, giving a more restrainedinterpretation than some on disk. She alternated reclining on a period chaise longue withstanding while throwing off extravagant gestures.

While the musical side of the evening was on a high level, the stagingdid not necessarily illuminate the text. Three dancers in drab outfits appeared from undera curtain pushing floor sweepings ahead of them. In John Kelly's choreography, they thenbegan to cavort about on a three-level scaffolding (set by Scott Pask).

Few in the enthusiastic audience seemed bothered that Kelly'schoreography offered little in the way of illuminating the absurdist text. A projection ofa large moon at the back was the only recognizable gesture toward Bergamasque PierrotLunaire's curious world. Luckily there was a projection of a large moon at the back toremind us of the piece's title

By way of illustrating Schönberg's vision of previous musical history,the earlier part of the evening was devoted to his arrangements of works by Brahms andJohann Strauss. The capacity audience enthusiastically applauded all the performers at theconclusion.

One novelty of the New York classical music season is the New Visionssubscription inserted directly into this year's Lincoln Center's Great Performers lineup.This marks the first time that stagings of contemporary and baroque classics are presentedhere outside of a festival context, although Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave andLincoln Center's own Serious Fun and new summer festival have seen many such events. Thefirst offering in this five-part group was an ambitious version of Arnold Schönberg'sseminal "Pierrot lunaire" conceived by pianist Sarah Rothenberg. Other NewVisions events will include staged versions of three Bach cantatas sung by Lorraine Huntand directed by Peter Sellars, Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulfand an event with Jessie Norman and choreographer Bill T. Jones. As has become customaryfor events of this kind, half-hour lectures precede each show.

As the text for "Pierrot lunaire", Schönberg selectedtwenty-one poems--each thirteen lines--from a larger series by pre-Dada Belgian poetAlbert Giraud (1860-1929). (This program's title Moondrunk is the English translation ofthe initial poem, Mondestrunken.) Although nineteenth-century French and German composershad occasionally used half-speaking/half-singing for voice against, no one had yetproposed a full-length work like this. In what would become cabaret style, Schönberg'ssoloist speaks, sings and slides on pitch with an intense stylization perhaps comparableonly to certain Early Music ornamentation. True, highly dramatic moments of operas and artsongs had been done in imitation of the earlier melodrama, but these were brief andisolated. With this work, Schönberg not only the inherited tonal and harmonic structurebut also accumulated vocal concepts.

Ms. Rothenberg brought together the superb players of Da Capo ofHouston ensemble and soprano soloist Lucy Shelton with three dancers led by John Kelly.The instrumentalists are noted in their own right, for example Rafael Figueroa isPrincipal Cellist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. They were able to achieve theright blend of necessary precision with late-Romantic shimmer that is integral toSchönberg's conception. Costumed in a turn-of-century long gown and fanciful turban, Ms.Shelton glided easily and convincingly through the piece, giving a more restrainedinterpretation than some on disk. She alternated reclining on a period chaise longue withstanding while throwing off extravagant gestures.

While the musical side of the evening was on a high level, the stagingdid not necessarily illuminate the text. Three dancers in drab outfits appeared from undera curtain pushing floor sweepings ahead of them. In John Kelly's choreography, they thenbegan to cavort about on a three-level scaffolding (set by Scott Pask).

Few in the enthusiastic audience seemed bothered that Kelly'schoreography offered little in the way of illuminating the absurdist text. A projection ofa large moon at the back was the only recognizable gesture toward Bergamasque PierrotLunaire's curious world. Luckily there was a projection of a large moon at the back toremind us of the piece's title

By way of illustrating Schönberg's vision of previous musical history,the earlier part of the evening was devoted to his arrangements of works by Brahms andJohann Strauss. The capacity audience enthusiastically applauded all the performers at theconclusion.

David Lipfert

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