Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
Well, that's not exactly true. I think about a dozen people came to hear Pierrot Lunaire performed on Friday evening, at the Pennsylvania German Society. That's about five more people, than the seven performers from the Univ. of Delaware music faculty, who occupied the stage. While Arnold Schoenberg's music is, admittedly, not a big draw for concert audiences, I think that more of his fans would have turned out, had they only known about the event. I found out about it only because a friend is a member of the German Society. Otherwise, I didn't see this concert, nor the repeat, which will take place at 3 PM, this Sunday afternoon at the same venue, advertised anywhere. It is a shame, because the performance was very good. The musicians, lead by conductor, Harvey Price, clearly know this piece and put their hearts into it. The only reservation that I had about the performance was that the performers did not take the hall's acoustics into consideration. The vocalist ("reciter", according to Schoenberg), soprano Noël Archambeault, was placed at the rear of the stage, behind the instrumentalists. This may have contributed to her sprechgesang (speech song) being drowned out by the other players for much of the work. Joe Barron, columnist for Montgomery News, whom I met at the concert, wrote an excellent article about this concert in advance of the event. In it he quotes Archambeault as saying that she "regards herself less as a soloist than as one more color in the composer’s palette." However, Schoenberg was setting text to music, and it would have been good to be able to hear all of the text. Additionally, while translations of the German texts were provided, the German was not there, making it difficult to follow along at points. Despite these shortcomings I would urge all who are adherents of 20th century music to attend the repeat on Sunday. These concerts were organized to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Pierrot Lunaire, and it is a party that shouldn't be missed.