The Pierrot Ensembles: Chronicle and Catalogue, 1912-2012

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Dromey, Christopher (2012)
  • Publisher: Plumbago

2012 is the centenary of the first performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21, and over the last hundred years its mixed chamber ensemble has become, in all its protean forms, a principal line-up for modern music. This book, the first of its kind, chronicles the ensemble’s evolution from Pierrot’s earliest performances, monitoring its influence on the Continent as well as upon Walton, Britten, Lutyens and Searle in Britain. In particular, it watches the growth of The Pierrot Players (later The Fires of London), one of the most galvanizing groups in post-war British music, and looks carefully at the social dynamics among its players and composers, notably Peter Maxwell Davies and Harrison Birtwistle. The influence of Pierrot, however, has not been confined to Europe and Britain. In the final section the author catalogues over 400 principal works for ‘Pierrot Ensembles’ – with or without singer – drawn from both sides of the Atlantic. An appendix includes the first reprinting of Stephen Pruslin’s text for Birtwistle’s controversial Monodrama (1967). The book is richly illustrated with photographs, drawings, music examples and diagrams.
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