Pierrot Lunaire Essay

Submitted By bettygolf
Words: 807
Pages: 4

A Orchestrated Perfection Whether it is music from hundreds of years ago or today, there is a sense of familiarity and attraction people feel for music and melody. Arnold Schoenberg, a famous Austrian composer, composed Pierrot Lunaire in 1912. Although written almost 100 years ago, the music never seizes to offer a dash of unexpectedness for the audience. Pierrot Lunaire is a collection of three groups of seven poems coming to a grand total of 21 songs. These pieces were written for a soprano, violin, cello, clarinet, flute, and the piano. However, the entire ensemble plays simultaneously only in the 11th, 14th and final four songs. In the first group, Pierrot sings about sex, love, and religion, while in the second to crime, violence, and blasphemy. Finally in the third, his composition context returns him home to Bergamo but with the past haunting him. The vivid and grotesque imagery in the portrayal of these pieces brings the music to life. The common use of compositional techniques such as Melodrama and fugue, along with a zealous storyline helps this piece to achieve a clear sense of uniformity and motif throughout the piece.
If one word were to be used to describe the general ambiance of the concert, it would be expressional. The genre of this piece is Melodrama, which refers to a dramatic piece of work that exaggerates the characters and plot in order to appeal to the audience’s emotions. Throughout the performance, the strong reactions shown through the performers were clearly visible to the onlookers. For example in the song #14 “Die Kreuze,” the intensity from the instruments dramatically increases with the addition of deeper and lower notes as well as the consistent increase in the tempo of the melody especially in movement 2. Moreover, during the first second group of the songs, the expressive portrayals of the music were especially strong. In the song Raub (“Theft”), the third song located in part two, the music starts out softly then crescendos. “Raub” is a funny and comical song that gradually builds up over three sections until it settles back down again with a direct restatement of the opening 'b' material. Contrary to other songs in previous verses, “Raub” has a much lighter and cheerful melody. In the performance of “Raub” the instrumentation included the sextet for clarinet, horn, violin, viola, cello and the piano. The embellishment throughout the work was a technique the composer, Schoenberg, used very effectively. The drama and over the top singing accentuates the storyline of this piece in which many listeners are able to relate with on different levels.
Pierrot Lunaire utilizes a wide variety of classical techniques and forms. One example of this is the practice of fugue, a contrapuntal compositional technique in two or more voices. It is also built on a theme that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently throughout the course of the composition. This composition technique can be found in song #13 “Enthauptung.” It ignores the rigid structure of the stanza and displays a formal variety ranging from non-repetitive counterpoint to free. In addition, passacaglia is also present…