Songmakers Australia: Two Musical Milestones
This year we celebrate two important milestones in music history. One hundred years since the writing and first performance of Pierrot Lunaire, a masterpiece that, in spite of the influence and changes it triggered in music creation for the last century, still stands alone in its uniqueness and haunting beauty. And 150 years since the birth of Claude Debussy, France’s best known and loved composer.
Contrary to legend, Debussy was not inspired by Schoenberg when he wrote his magnificent Cello Sonata. The epitaph ‘Pierrot faché de la lune’ was coined by a cello teacher, much to the annoyance of the composer. He did however write a few songs inspired by the characters of the Commedia del Arte, mostly for his muse and inspiration, Madame Vasnier - a highly accomplished amateur coloratura soprano.
In our celebration of his life and music, L’isle joyeuse, Songmakers Australia members Merlyn Quaife, Nicholas Dinopoulos and Andrea Katz are joined by superb cellist Howard Penny. Here is the translation of his song Pierrot, inspired by the great French pantomime artist Jean-Gaspard de Bureau (pictured below).
Good old Pierrot, at whom the crowd gapes,
having concluded Harlequin’s wedding,
walks along the Boulevard du Temple, lost in thought.
A girl in a supple garment
vainly teases him with a mischievous look;
And meanwhile, mysterious and smooth,
taking her sweetest delight in him,
the white moon, bull-horned,
throws a furtive glance
at her friend Jean Gaspard Deburau.
Théodore Faullin de Banville (1823-1891)
Hear Songmakers Australia perform L’isle joyeuse Tuesday 21 August at 6pm. More information and tickets can be found here.
Hear Andrea and Merlyn of Songmakers Australia perform Pierrot lunaire with Syzygy Ensemble on the 24, 25 and 26 October at 7pm. More information and tickets can be found here.