Classical Spree 17-18

13.Pierrot Lunaire

13.Pierrot Lunaire


5e Salle

Schoenberg’s song cycle Pierrot lunaire, for voice and small instrumental ensemble, has had a profound influence on the history of music. Presented here in three parts interspersed with works by Enescu and Stravinsky, this expressionist masterpiece sets twenty-one poems by the Belgian poet Albert Giraud, translated into German by Otto Erich Hartleben. An opportunity to discover – or rediscover – this extraordinary musical landmark.


YOUTH RATE 17 years and under : $10 per concert


From $27*


1:00 PM

Redirection to the Place des Arts

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin (Enescu and Stravinsky) and Sprechstimme
Axel Strauss, violin (Schoenberg)
Chloé Dominguez, viola
Matt Haimovitz, cello
André Moisan, clarinet and bass clarinet
Albert Brouwer, flute
Brigitte Poulin, piano
Adam Johnson, Conductor-in-residence


Enescu, Impressions d’enfance, op. 28: no. 1 for solo violin, “Minstrel”

Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire, op. 21, Part I

Stravinsky, Pulcinella, for violin and piano (arr. S.Dushkin): “Overture”

Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire, op. 21, Part II

Stravinsky, Pulcinella, for violin and piano (arr. S.Dushkin): “Serenata”

Stravinsky, Pulcinella, for violin and piano (arr. S.Dushkin): “Tarantella”

Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire, op. 21, Part III

Programme Notes:

“Stravinsky has never given proof of greater talent than in Pulcinella, nor of a surer taste in audacity.” So said Reynaldo Hahn of the famous ballet for which Stravinsky recomposed music by Pergolesi – adding harmonies, rhythmic twists, and spicy orchestrations. The result was something quite new. Stravinsky arranged Pulcinella several times; this version, called simply Suite Italienne, was created in 1933 for Polish-American violinist Samuel Dushkin and Stravinsky himself on piano. Three out of five movements are here interspersed with Pierrot – the unforgettable Introduction, the lyrical, lilting Serenata and the sprightly Tarantella, which features both instruments working tightly together. One of Enescu’s gentle but virtuosic Impressions d’enfance opens the program: an idealized evocation of folk fiddling from Enescu’s childhood in the Romanian countryside.


Pierrot lunaire, meanwhile, utterly defies simple characterisation. Stravinsky called it the “solar plexus as well as the mind of early twentieth-century music.” For Boulez, it was “a superior ‘cabaret.’” Schoenberg himself described the music as ironic and satirical, although many now associate Pierrot primarily with an “intense and morbid expressivity” or an “enclosed nightmare world,” in the words of Charles Rosen. But the universe of this magnificent song cycle also contains dark humour, poignancy, and romance, as well as everything from dense, learned counterpoint to the cabaret style of early 1900s Berlin.


The cycle was composed in 1912 for Viennese singer-actress Albertine Zehme, who was known for giving dramatic readings against musical backgrounds. Schoenberg instructs the performer to distinguish clearly between speech, song, and a new style – Sprechstimme – that fell somewhere in between. The text consists of 21 poems from Albert Giraud’s collection Pierrot Lunaire (translated into German by Erich Hartleben), divided into three parts. The first paints lurid, dream-like scenes with an omnipresent moon, whereas the second conjures images of blasphemy, violence, and death. Part III slowly emerges from this nightmare universe, embarking on a journey towards home and daylight.


© Ariadne Lih, 2018

Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson holds a Doctorate in Piano Performance from the Université de Montréal and earned his Prize in Orchestral Conducting from the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. In September 2016, following three seasons with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as Resident Conductor and then Associate Conductor, he took up the position of the OSM’s Assistant Conductor, and was appointed Conductor-in-Residence in June 2018. Adam Johnson was the 2015 winner of the Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestra Conducting from the Canada Council for the Arts. As a guest conductor, he has worked with the symphony orchestras of Québec, Edmonton, Calgary, Thunder Bay, and Saskatoon, and will soon open the Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières’ 2018 season.

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja’s versatility is reflected in her diverse repertoire, which ranges from baroque and classical works (which she will often perform on instruments with period features such as gut strings), to new commissions and reinterpretations of modern masterworks. Kopatchinskaja’s 2017–2018 season opened with the world premiere of her new project, Dies Irae at the Lucerne Festival, where she was “Artiste étoile”. Following the success of Bye Bye Beethoven with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2016, this second staged programme, Dies Irae, draws upon repertoires that span Gregorian chant to contemporary works. Kopatchinskaja was awarded the prestigious Swiss Grand Award for Music by the Switzerland Federal Office of Culture in September 2017. This season, she adds to her many successes a Grammy award in the category “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” for her recording Death and the Maiden, performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and released on the Alpha Classics label. To learn more about Patricia Kopatchinska.

Axel Strauss

The first German artist ever to win the international Naumburg Violin Award in New York, Axel Strauss made his American debuts at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and at Alice Tully Hall in 1998. Since then, he has given recitals in many major North American cities including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In 2007, he was the featured violinist in the world premiere performance and recording of Two Awakenings and a Double Lullaby, whose violin part was written for him by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Axel Strauss has served as Guest Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. In 2012, he was appointed Professor of Violin at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montreal, where he also serves as Chair of the String Area. He previously served as Professor of Violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Neal Gripp

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Principal Viola Neal Gripp has performed solo recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London, and at the Town Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, among other venues. He has appeared as a soloist with the OSM and the Ottawa and Winnipeg symphony orchestras. An active chamber musician, he has served as Artistic Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture Chamber Music Festival in Montreal and in related performances at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Neal Gripp has written works for orchestra and string quartet. His Passacaglia for Orchestra has been performed and recorded by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Chloé Dominguez, cellist

Chloé Dominguez is one the most accomplished and versatile cellist of her generation. She holds the solo cello position at the Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal. Her reputation as an avid chamber musician has led her to perform in Canada and the United States, at many international festivals.

Chloé Dominguez has received numerous prizes and awards. In 2009, she was a winner of the Canada Council’s Musical Instrument Bank Competition and was awarded McGill’s Schulich School of Music’s Golden Violin award.

She obtained a doctorate degree in performance at McGill University under the tutelage of Matt Haimovitz. She teaches chamber music at the Schulich School of Music and the Domaine Forget’s music academy. She plays on a 1745 Lorenzo Carcassi cello.

André Moisan

André Moisan is both soloist and chamber musician, in addition to serving as Bass Clarinet and Saxophone with the OSM since 1999. He performs regularly in Europe and the U.S. and has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and on Radio Berlin. He has taught clarinet at the Université de Montréal since 1989 and has performed as a conductor, notably with the OSM, in concerts in the Children’s Corner and Youth Concerts series (1999 to 2009). He has appeared as a soloist on almost 50 recordings and has made seven critically acclaimed solo albums for the Atma label. In 2017, he recorded two new albums: a disc of jazz music with Jean-Willy Kunz (Impressions) and a recording of klezmer music with the Molinari Quartet (Klezmer Dreams). As a soloist, he regularly performs on tour in America, Europe, and Asia.

Albert Brouwer

Originally from the Netherlands, Albert Brouwer graduated summa cum laude in flute performance at the Utrecht Conservatory of Music. After graduating, he moved to Canada to study with Timothy Hutchins at McGill University. Since 2015, Mr. Brouwer is interim Associate Principal Flute of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and Principal Flute of the Orchestre Symphonique de Drummondville. He held the principal flute positions of the Albany Symphony Orchestra (NY), Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Mass.) and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VT). He was a member of the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra (Germany) where he played under the baton of Gergiev, Solti, Bychkov and Rostropovich. Mr. Brouwer teaches flute at McGill University and at the Cegep de Drummondville. After completing masterclasses in conducting, Mr. Brouwer has led the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Bishop’s University Orchestra and Burlington Chamber Orchestra.

Brigitte Poulin

Montreal-based pianist Brigitte Poulin is an active and accomplished soloist, chamber musician, vocal accompanist and teacher whose repertoire covers all periods, from the invention to the deconstruction of the piano. Among her loyal collaborators, Brigitte counts singers Andréanne Brisson-Paquin and Vincent Ranallo, double bassist Ali Yazdanfar, and pianist Jean Marchand. She has also founded two contemporary chamber ensembles: Ensemble Transmission and Trio Phoenix. Brigitte Poulin serves as a part-time lecturer at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University, as well as being a faculty member of the Summer Academy of Orford Music and Domaine Forget. Her most recent CD recordings include: Folklore imaginaire: music by Ana Sokolović (Naxos), Pierrot lunaire (Atma), Transmission, and Édifices Naturels (Dame). Her solo performances can be heard on CBC and Naxos Records.