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Reinhold Friedl

Schonberg Pierrot Lunaire Cheap Imitation

(Zeitkratzer; US: 20 Jan 2009; UK: Available as import)

This piece, conceived as a parody of Arnold Shonberg’s famous “Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds ‘Pierrot lunaire’”, was written by Berlin composer Reinhold Friedl in 2005, and is lent heft and a perhaps disproportionate seriousness in a recording by Markus Weiser and the Zeitkratzer ensemble. The 21 poems of Schoneberg’s piece are condensed here into barely fifteen minutes; the “soprano” now remade in Weiser’s expressive (and at times effete) voice. Friedl’s piece is Shonberg-esque, though it’s much simpler, and one suspects the style’s a little affected for the sake of the parody. Friedl’s tricks seem drawn straight from his undergraduate students’ handbook—a favourite is the random deployment of atonalities in a flute or oboe, interjecting themselves out of the texture of the piece. Some of these brief, interlude-like compositions have a certain tongue-in-cheek brio. But as a high-art joke, I have to say, this one’s over my head.

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Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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All this sonic variety and depth covers up one impressive fact: Friedl is creating these sounds inside a Steinway piano, in real time.
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