Moonstruck Review

Moonstruck Review

Moonstruck was held at Union College’s Emerson Concert Hall.  The program was composed of the piano trio Nothing Forgotten, a set of poems sung to music, Pierrot Lunaire, and four additional songs.

The first piece, Nothing Forgotten, was written by Hilary Tann.  It was a beautiful piano trio that created a happy fusion of poetry, music, and visuals.  Nothing Forgotten had a violinist, a pianist, and a cellist.  The piece started out at a slow pace, and gathered momentum, gradually increasing in tempo as the violinist and cellist alternated playing with a trill.  Towards the end of piece, the violinist performed a concerto, while the cello played the baseline and the piano played what sounded like footsteps.  Tann’s inspiration for this colorful music was derived from her home in the gorgeous Adirondacks.

The images of nature that accompanied the music and poetry were pictures taken by Lawrence White, a professional photographer and filmmaker.  The combination of the poetry and photographs helped bring the music to life by instilling in the audience sentimental meaning.  A striking picture of the moon brought the music to fitting end, while meshing well with the name of the concert.

Pierrot Lunaire, which was written by Arnold Schönberg, could be classified as a melodrama, or a theater performance set to music.  The piece contained three clarinets, one of which was a bass clarinet, a flute, a violin, a cello, a viola, a piano, and a piccolo.  The music accompanied the soprano Gene Marie Callahan Kern, who both recited and sang the poetry of Pierrot Lunaire in German.  She also changed her costume to fit the mood of each part of the piece.  As the dynamics of her voice increased, so did the dynamics of the multitude of accompanying instruments.  This variance in the music created a very eerie tune.  Each part of the melodrama broke with a short pause, much like a scene does in a play.

The final four songs were written by Richard Strauss, and arranged for a chamber ensemble.  Kern sang these four songs in German with background music containing a flute, piano, French horn, viola, cello, and clarinet.  The piano played the constant baseline at a slow pace, while the Kern sang with a powerful, piercing voice.  The music of the last four songs was much happier sounding than the previous piece.  It ended very much like a movie, dying out softly.

Overall, the concert was very good.  The musicians were very skilled with their respective instruments and were able to play a large variety of challenging music.  The visuals of the first piece, and the singer who accompanied the musicians on the second piece added another dimension to the concert’s mood, and the emotions felt by the viewers.