Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celebrating Schoenberg at Music on Main

Among the important musical centenaries we're celebrating this year (e.g., that of  John Cage's birth), is the premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's landmark composition Pierrot Lunaire, his sprechgesang Opus 21 based on poems by Albert Giraud. (The piece has received many lively stagings in recent years, leading up to its centenary, including a highly theatrical and transgendered dance-theatre take by bad-boy Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce that ran in Berlin last year: check out the short YouTube excerpt here.)

Richard and I were out on a school night to witness Music on Main's All-Star Band, led by conductor Margerite Witvoet, and featuring the brilliant soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen, perform the piece at the Western Front 100 years to the day after it first bowed in Vienna. A captivating event that I will not be able to do full justice in this short post. What I will say is that this is another spectacular coup in programming by MoM's visionary Artistic Director David Pay, not least because of his genius pairing of the Schoenberg piece with a lively set of cabaret songs and improvisations from the period featuring vocalist Carol Sawyer and pianist Lisa Cay Miller.

In just a few short years, MoM has become one of the most important musical series in the city, and its year-round programming has transformed the SOMA area, and in particular regular venue Heritage Hall, into a major performing arts destination. Of course, we are especially excited at PuSh about our ongoing co-presentations with MoM, and with David's continued cross-support for the Festival.


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