delivered in "sprechgesang" -- "speech song" -- rather than in conventional melodic fashion. That vocal part remains a formidable challenge; the instrumental writing for an ensemble of woodwinds, strings and piano is no picnic, either. But it all adds up to an fascinating experience, a sort of futuristic cabaret for a future that has never arrived.
The Lunar Ensemble will perform "Pierrot Lunaire" at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Shriver Hall, conducted by Gemma New. The program also includes recent works that explore the same literary source material -- poems by Albert Giraud -- that inspired Schoenberg and that make use the same instrumentation.
A concert at 3:30 Saturday afternoon, also at Shriver, will continue the theme with another set a new works drawing on the Giraud poetry.
Composers represented in these concerts include Joshua Bornfield, Douglas Buchanan, Faye Chiao, Evan Combs, Sean Doyle, Natalie Draper, Lonnie Hevia and Joshua Pangilinan.
Sunday brings an all-Messiaen recital by pianist Matthew Odell, who did undergrad studies at Peabody now teaches at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and Juilliard.
Odell, a specialist in Messiaen's prismatic, complex, often deeply spiritual music, will focus on some of the lesser known repertoire, including the Préludes, the great composer's first published piano work.