Pierrot Songs is a setting of three poems from Albert Giraud's influential Pierrot lunaire: rondels bergamasques: "Décor," "Pantomime," and "Cuisine Lyrique" (Nos. 46, 37, and 7 in Giraud's cycle, respectively). Although the poems are vastly different from one another, I imagined tracing a progression from the surreal pink sunset over Pierrot's barren world to an empty sky illuminated by a freakishly yellow moon—and in between, a drunken dance-like intermezzo invoking the theatrics of Pierrot and his companions. I made no attempt to emulate the outlandish, extroverted character of Arnold Schoenberg's monumental setting of Giraud's text; instead I leaned towards a more introspective reading of the text—sensitive, but not uninhibitedly expressive, and conveying irony between the words and music. The result is a set of three very different short pieces, together forming a larger whole.
The cycle was originally titled Between a Pink Sunset and a Yellow Moonrise and composed in 2012 for the Lunar Ensemble's Pierrot Centenary Project, which was initiated by Gemma New to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.
Flute (doubling alto flute), clarinet in B flat (doubling bass clarinet), violin, cello, vibraphone, soprano, piano
11 November 2012, Shriver Hall, Baltimore, MD
Lunar Ensemble conducted by Gemma New; Danielle Buonaiuto, soprano