“I have played the Pierrot many times as a violinist,” Patricia Kopatchinskaja writes on her website. “But I always longed to do the speaker’s/singer’s part once.” We are talking about Arnold Schoenberg’s melodrama Pierrot lunaire, whose public premiere took place on 16 October 1912 and became a triumph: “Schoenberg and the performers,” Anton Webern reported, “had to return again and again, first and foremost of course Schoenberg; they clamoured for him in the hall repeatedly.”
When Patricia Kopatchinskaja was able to practice less than usual because of an arm condition, the violin virtuoso, originally from Moldova, began to learn Pierrot’s Sprechgesang “under the professional guidance of Esther de Bros”. “After a year’s work,” the virtuoso writes, “I took the plunge in October 2017 with musicians of the Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer – in the adventurous surroundings of the Sky Salt Lake City Nightclub.” Now Patricia Kopatchinskaja will also present Schoenberg’s expressionistically honed miniatures in the scope of this Philharmonic Late Night, jointly with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and guests.
Also on this concert: waltzes by Johann Strauss II in arrangements by Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, premiered on 27 May 1921 at a legendary concert of the “Society for Private Musical Performances”. Not only the oddity of the stylistic contrast, but also Schoenberg’s humorous emceeing contributed significantly to the success of the evening.