We give thanks for Sister Veronica Ann Baxter (1928-2014), remembered for her innovative leadership of Marylhurst from 1974 to 1984, when the university transitioned to a co-educational college of lifelong learning.
Pollyanna Hancock-Moody and all the artists who performed Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire at Marylhurst on May 30, 2014, "met all the challenges of the score, and then some," according to Oregon Arts Watch.
Also on the program were works by Marylhurst student composers inspired by Schoenberg's work.
Excerpt from an article by Bruce Browne in Oregon Arts Watch,
May 31, 2014.
"Let's go take in some Schoenberg" is not something I have ever said to another human. Yet I was excited and curious to hear about this harlequin clown, this moonstruck reject from the Commedia de l'Arte, and later, the cabaret. Pierrot Lunaire is a novelty, a rarity, and I enjoyed anticipating the "how will they pull this off"-ness of being in the audience. I had no expectations beyond "this could be a kick." And it was.
Actualizing a piece like this is always a daunting task, even by the most talented professionals. Friday night's realization, led by Ken Selden, and performed by soprano Pollyanna Hancock-Moody and the chamber group of Fumino Ando, Vadine Iishkin, Jessica Sindell, David Hattner and Janet Coleman, met all the challenges of the score, and then some. Massive virtuosity was on display for a smallish audience at St. Anne's Chapel on the campus of Marylhurst University. Coleman was the pianistic "glue" that expertly helped to hold things together in many of the movements.
The greatest weight of interpretation falls on the soprano. As All Classical radio announcer Robert McBride explained in introducing the piece on Friday night, Pierrot is a "nut-job," haunted by the moon. Hancock-Moody was equal to the task of bringing the text and music off the page, enlivening her singing with appropriate changes of facial expression and gestures, all reflecting the ironies and schizophrenic mood changes inherent in the poetry.
Pierrot Lunaire debuted in Berlin in 1912, against the backdrop of the gathering storm leading to 1914. But that night, in the audience for the premiere performance were Stravinsky, Ravel, Puccini, Strauss and Gershwin. These luminaries came to hear something different, something new, something unique because, perhaps, it just might be a kick. They would have enjoyed last Friday night.