Stravinsky Meets Schoenberg
Pierrot also uses an old archetype, a stock clown/hero character from Italian commedia dell'arte, and "gets to levels of emotional and descriptive detail that is very rare in Western music," says Goltz. "There are moments of great exuberance, deep yearning, absolute longing, and despair, a homesickness you can't even fathom."
Both Stravinsky and Schoenberg were already in the process of breaking tonality's grip when they wrote these pieces, though Schoenberg was still years away from the twelve-tone compositions for which he is perhaps best known. Goltz, who wrote her doctoral thesis on Pierrot, says, "Schoenberg felt that tonality had been kind of destroyed, and there was no choice but to write in this non-tonal idiom. The last movement is--I can't really see it any other way--him saying goodbye to tonality and letting go of it."
Whether or not you're a modern music fan--chacun a son gout--this will be a rare opportunity to hear side by side two of the seminal pieces that helped define twentieth-century classical music.
[Originally published in May, 2013.]