Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Pierrot Lunaire

Music History Monday: Pierrot Lunaire

There are certain first performances that we celebrate as being among the seminal events in music history. For example (and we would do well to memorize these dates!), the first performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s groundbreaking opera Orfeo occurred at Florence’s Pitti Palace on Friday, February 24, 1607. Handel’s Messiah was first performed on Tuesday, April 13, 1742 at Great Music Hall in Fishamble Street in Dublin; the performance began at 12 noon. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony received its premiere at Vienna’s Kärntnertor Theater on Friday, May 7, 1824, in a concert that began at 7 PM. Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was first performed at Paris’ Théâtre des Champs Elysée on May 29, 1913; the performance began at 8:30 PM. To this über-impressive list of premieres we must now add that of Arnold Schoenberg’s dazzling, controversial, and in all ways extraordinary Pierrot Lunaire, which received it’s premiere 105 years ago today, on Wednesday, October 16, 1912, at Berlin’s Choralion-saal after having received a mind-blowing forty rehearsals! Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) believed himself to be a compositional traditionalist, and in many ways he was. He believed that the role of the composer was to express himself and the role of music was therefore to […]

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