Pierrot Lunaire

In: Film and Music

Submitted By eus367
Words 1090
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Composer and painter Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) had a huge impact on the atonal movement of music. He pushed for the emancipation of dissonance, wanting to free himself and other composers from all rules of tonality. One of his collections of musical works is Pierrot Lunaire, op. 21 (1912). Pierrot Lunaire contains twenty-one pieces, each written for a set of twenty-one poems by Albert Giraud also titled Pierrot Lunaire. One of the pieces in Schoenberg’s collection, no. 14, is called “Die Kreuze” or, translated, “The Crosses”. The words of the corresponding poem are translated: Poems are poets’ holy crosses On which they bleed in silence, Struck blind by phantom swarms Of fluttering vultures.

Swords have feasted on their bodies. Reveling in the scarlet blood! Poems are poets’ holy crosses On which they bleed in silence.

Dead the head, the tresses stiffened, Far away the noisy rabble, Slowly the sun sinks, A red royal crown.-- Poems are poets’ holy crosses.
As one can tell by the words of the poem, this is not a “happy” piece. It is one of depression and sadness, and the atonal music aids in displaying that emotion. “Die Kreuze” is a form of expressionistic music, which attempted to express one’s internal states and emotions. “Die Kreuze” was recorded by many artists, two of which were Lucy Shelton with Da Capo Chamber Players in 1992 and Christine Schäfer with Ensemble Intercontemporain in 1997. Their recordings are the same in their instrumentation and are similar in dynamics and interpretation, but they differ in many ways as well. Schoenberg wrote Pierrot Lunaire with x’s through the vocalists’ notes. This notation meant that the piece was to be recited using sprechstimme, which is literally…...

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