Stravinsky Meets Schoenberg
side. "These are two big, heavy hitters who are rarely in the same room at the same time," notes soprano Jennifer Goltz, who will sing the role of the narrator in Pierrot.
Besides their age, L'Histoire andPierrot have much in common: Both employ a narrator. Both are based on French texts (although Schoenberg's is set to a German translation of the original and, in this concert, Deanna Relyea will narrate L'Histoire in English). Both are early works of their composers. And, eschewing standard chamber music ensembles such as the string quartet or piano trio, Stravinsky and Schoenberg each used unique, even idiosyncratic collections of instruments. Besides Goltz's soprano, Pierrot features a piano, cello, and three players who double on violin/viola, clarinet/bass clarinet, and flute/piccolo, respectively. L'Histoire, in addition to Relyea, features violin, trumpet, bassoon, trombone, bass, and percussion.
Built on an ancient Russian form of the Faust story, Stravinsky's L'Histoire, like most versions of the tale, features a fiddle, the devil, and somebody's soul at stake. In L'Histoire there is also a book that foretells the future of the economy. Violinist extraordinaire Gabe Bolkosky, who will lead the ensemble for this concert, last teamed with Relyea to perform the piece in 2009, just months after the financial meltdown of 2008. It was hard then to escape the resonance with events in the news, and it's still easy to make the case for its relevance today. (Hedge fund managers, pay attention. There will be a test!)