Sunday, March 25, 2007
Arnold Schoenberg- Pierrot Lunaire
Along the lines of my Mussorgsky post a few months back, here is one of the most unsettling, frightening recordings I've ever heard: Expressionist Arnold Schoenberg's musical travelogue of the hallucinations of an insane clown!!!!
Yes, the "lyrics" (sung in "sprechstimme" style-- a half-sung, half-spoken hybrid far scarier than anything Dr. Moreau could conceive) are all about a sinister clown's journey through various nightmarescapes. I find it very Lovecraftian, and the finest example of Schoenberg's "ugly" works (while Schoenberg's post-Wagnerian period repertoire is peerless, Serialism has yet to "do it" for me).
Once you hear it, you'll recognize its influence in countless horror movie soundtracks. But, it has thankfully remained hidden from mass recognition. Even though Bjork performed the entire cycle at the 1996 Verbiere Festival (contact me with info about bootlegs, please), it still remains a paradoxical underground work, as appreciated by classically-trained, PhD. Musicologists as it is by the latest crop of web-savvy DJs.