Three Poems from Pierrot Lunaire

2008

For: Soprano Voice, Fl (+Picc), Cl, Hn, Pno, VCl.
Duration: 8 minutes

Valse De Chopin

Serenade

Homesick

Commissioned by Morphosen

Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot) is well-known through Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 setting of 21 of the Pierrot poems by the Belgian symbolist poet Andre Giraud. Schoenberg set a German version by Otto–Erich Hartleben which became enormously popular at the beginning of the 20th century, several other composers also setting selections of the poems. There are in all 50 of these miniature rondels, each consisting of 13 lines with the first two repeated as lines 7 and 8 and the opening line again repeated as a final refrain. I have chosen three, in an English translation, put together from a number of different sources.

The poems I have chosen include references to music and also to nostalgia. In the first piece I have used the framework of a Chopin Waltz in the piano part. In the second one Pierrot serenades his beloved with a giant viola, but only succeeds in waking the neighbours with his less-than-expert playing. The finale uses snatches of a Trio-Sonata by Arcangelo Corelli as a symbol of Pierrot’s homesickness.