Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Slee Sinfonietta Concert

Slee Sinfonietta Concert

Tuesday, September 20
7:30pm | Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall
*Pre-concert lecture will be at 7:00pm for Pierrot Lunaire

Today the Slee Sinfonietta will present their first concert of the 2016-2017 season, conducted by Maestro Case Scaglione.  The program will feature works by two of music history’s most innovative composers, Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez.  UB Faculty Member Professor Tiffany Du Mouchelle will feature as a guest artist during the concert.

Slee Sinfonietta, credit to Irene Haupt
The program begins with Pierre Boulez’s hypnotic Dérive 1 (1984) for six instruments (flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello, vibraphone, and piano).  Translated roughly as “derivative,” this piece is derived from two compositions Répons (1981) and Messagesquisse (1976), and explores colorful textures through statement and decoration of various rotating themes and chords.  Boulez was one of the prominent figures of 20th century classical music.

The second piece of the evening is Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, a string sextet orchestrated with two violins, two violas, and two cellos, composed in 1899.  Literally meaning “Transfigured Night,” the piece was inspired by a poem of the same name by Richard Dehmel.  The poetry depicts a nighttime stroll of a man and woman through a dark forest on a moonlit night, where the woman shares a dark secret with her lover.  Mysterious and tonal with a twist, this piece has a striking resemblance to German late-Romanticism, with influences apparent of Brahms and Wagner.  The work features five sections which resemble the structure of the poem it is based upon and has musical themes that related the narrative woven throughout.  Verklärte Nacht is one of the earliest examples of program music that was written for a chamber ensemble and a thrilling early example of Schoenberg’s work.

The program will close with Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, one of his most loved and well-known compositions.  Composed for voice and flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano; it is a melodramatic song cycle based upon 21 poems from Otto Hartleben’s German translation of Albert Giraud’s cycle of French poems of the same name.  Meaning literally, “Pierrot in the Moonlight,” the piece is traditionally sung by a soprano voice, and calls for the vocal art of Sprechstimme, or speech voice.  The audience is treated to three groups of seven poems, each group having its own theme.  In the first group, Pierrot sings about love, sex, and religion; the second group of violence, crime, and blasphemy; and the third of his return home.

Pierrot Lunaire, credit: Schoenberg Facsimiles

Pierrot Lunaire is associated primarily with the Expressionism movement, where the music focuses more on dissonances rather than consonance, and gives an unfinished or ‘unsettled’ feeling to its listeners. The piece is atonal and generated from ten-note motifs, but does not make use of the 12 tone method that Schoenberg is so well known for.  Pierrot Lunaire is arguably one of Schoenberg’s most famous works, not one to be missed.

UB Faculty member Professor Tiffany Du Mouchelle, who wrote her dissertation on the performance of Pierrot Lunaire, will offer a pre-concert talk beginning at 7:00pm.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for all seniors, UB Faculty/Staff/Alumni, and non-UB students. All UB students with a valid ID receive one complimentary ticket to all UB Music Department concerts.

Tickets may be purchased in person at UB's Center for the Arts box office, Monday-Friday between 10am-6pm, online at www.tickets.com (service charges apply), or one hour before concert time in the box office adjacent to the concert hall.

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