Octandre Ensemble
Event 5
Monday 10th October, 8.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

The solar plexus of modernism
Arnold Schoenberg
Pierrot Lunaire
Robert Schumann
Märchenerzählungen op132
György Kurtág
Hommage à Robert Schumann op15d
Mark Simpson
Hommage à Kurtág

This is an archived event from the 2016 Programme.

Jon Hargreaves conductor   Loré Lixenberg mezzo-soprano   Audrey Milheres flute   Adam Slater clarinet   Joseph Houston piano   Aisha Orazbayeva violin   Richard Jones viola   Corentin Chassard cello

We’re proud to present Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, a major milestone of 20th century modernism, written in a “creative frenzy” in 1912 – a year before the Rite of Spring, and born of the same cultural ferment.

Stravinsky attended the premiere, hailing Schoenberg as “one of the greatest creative spirits of our day” for a work that was “the solar plexus as well as the mind of early twentieth-century music”. George Gershwin also attended the premiere and became a fan.

This strangely haunting piece sets poems by Belgian symbolist poet Albert Giraud for voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano. The verses slither between comedy, melancholy and nightmare. Schoenberg used the rare technique of Sprechgesang with the singer sliding continuously between speech and song, giving life and expression to Giraud’s poems.

Pierrot expert Chris Dromey will introduce this masterpiece.

Click here for more information about Pierrot.

The rest of the concert is intricately entwined, starting with Schumann’s attractively romantic Märchenerzählungen (Fairy Tales) for viola, piano and clarinet. This maginative and genial late work expresses Schumann’s love of fantasy, and displays the dreamy and impetuous sides of his personality.

One of the most admired of living composers, Kurtág shares Schumann’s love of loose collections of fantasies. Hommage was inspired by Märchenerzählungen. Kurtág is a unique voice, a master of delicate and often playful miniatures.

Mark Simpson’s new composition – premiered this August at the Salzburg Festival – pays homage in turn to Kurtág. Mark, one of our most exciting young composers, was the first person to win both the BBC Young Musician and Young Composer of the Year awards. He wrote sparks for the Last Night of the Proms, and his recent opera Pleasure was much acclaimed.

The Octandre Ensemble under conductor Jon Hargreaves is a London-based new music collective. This is their second visit. At their memorable 2014 performance of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale we were impressed with the group’s prodigious musicianship and ability to make difficult scores sound comprehensible.

Mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg, renowned for the warmth, range and agility of her voice, will deliver the Sprechgesang. Hugely experienced in music theatre, she worked with Théâtre de Complicité, and performed in Richard Thomas’ award-winning Jerry Springer: The Opera and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House.

“Lixenberg’s rich powerful voice has an almost bewildering range of colours and a breathtaking upper register” (Metro)

Concert in memory of Michael Cox