March 10, 2014 3:59 pm ||  Leave your thoughts

March 10, 2014 DMA Recital #2: Revel in the Night

Tonight I will be performing the second of three recitals required by the doctoral program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Here are the details!

DMA Recital #2: Revel in the Night
Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Elebash Recital Hall at The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street), Manhattan


If you aren’t available to make the concert, it will also be viewable via a live stream OR as a video recording at a later date. Follow this link for either of these two options:

The music on tonight’s recital includes Colombetta by Arturo Buzzi-Peccia, three canzonettas by Joseph Haydn, Quatre chansons de jeunesse by Claude Debussy, and Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg. Helping me perform these works tonight will be Audrey Abela, Piano; Emily Vold, Violin/Viola; Melissa Keeling, Flute/Piccolo; Ashleé Miller, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet; Caroline Bean, Cello.

Below I’ve attached the program notes, in case you would like to follow along!


About the Program

 Night. Unlike the day, the night can be perceived in a multitude of ways: scary, romantic, serene, festive, creepy, mysterious, exciting, safe or dangerous. Growing up, I was afraid of the night’s darkness because, for me, the dark was synonymous with ghosts, goblins, and the unexplained. However, the night was also a refuge. It was my time to be alone and to confront my fears and even offer them to the universe in the hopes of receiving support or answers.

The night holds a peculiar meaning for many, and artists, philosophers, and scientists have been drawn to these hours with the hope of understanding its mysteries better. Tonight’s program revels in the music inspired by the night, with special emphasis placed on the nighttime escapades of certain commedia dell’arte characters, in particular, Pierrot.



 Columbine was the commedia character every man lived to love. Smart and willful, she was occasionally the mistress of the fun and mischievous Harlequin and, at other times, the love interest of melancholy Pierrot. Much to her chagrin, she was also constantly pursued by wealthy, old Patalone. In Arturo Buzzi-Peccia’s Colombetta, Columbine uses the night to create some romance and mystery, only to have her plan backfire slightly when she allows poor Harlequin to sit out in the cold too long. Fortunately, her love quickly warms him, and the night is reserved for romance once more.

Little is known about Italian-born Buzzi-Peccia, though his songs were popular with show-stopping tenors such as Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza. A composer of songs, piano miniatures, and at least one opera, Buzzi-Peccia also taught singing, which may account for his cantabile writing. His songs, though conventionally tonal and rhythmically repetitious, are cleverly constructed with special attention paid to the text. For example, Colombetta is set as a miniature scena: the soprano is responsible for the roles of the narrator, Harlequin, and Columbine, while the piano imitates Harlequin’s mandoline. Subtle tempo shifts, carefully placed pauses, and some programmatic writing in the piano helps to indicate shifts in character, such as the short descending chromatic figure, indicative of Harlequin’s shivering in the cold.


Haydn Canzonettas

 Joseph Haydn, patriarch of the First Viennese School, is widely celebrated for his symphonies and string quartets, while his vocal works are often forgotten. Haydn wrote 47 songs for solo voice and piano, many of which he said to have written “con amore in happy times and without commission.” Fourteen of these songs were composed while Haydn was in London, inspired by the poetry of his friend Mrs. John (Anne) Hunter. In these songs, or canzonettas, we hear a foreshadowing of the Lieder tradition that flourishes under the pen of Schubert. Haydn sets these poems as a collaboration between the piano and vocalist, often composing lengthy piano introductions that establish the character of the poem long before the singer enters. Meanwhile, the vocal writing and song structure are sensitive to the text and poetic structure, unlike one might find in a strophic folk song.

“The Wanderer,” written in 1795, is a perfect example of the care Haydn took in musically creating the ambience established by Hunter’s melancholic poem. A walking bass-line, chromatic descending lines, as well as diminished seventh chords, capture the speaker’s descent into a dark and sorrowful wasteland created through her inability to forget the past.

“Pleasing Pains” was written in 1794. In this pleasant poem, the doubts, anxieties, and regrets of life seem less burdensome than in the previous poem and Haydn sets the poem accordingly in a bright, cheerful 6/8 meter in G Major. Running figures in the right hand represent the “flying away” of life’s cares, while momentary chromatics capture their lingering pain.

“The Spirit’s Song” was published as a single song in approximately 1800 and is often hailed as Haydn’s best. The poetry tells the story of a spirit who attempts to comfort his mourning love with the message that he refuses to leave this world until she is also dead. Composed in ternary form, the A section is characterized by a slow moving chromatic line doubled at the octave to the text “my spirit wanders free and waits till thine shall come,” an effect that conjures a ghostly whisper. The B section, initially set in the relative major, seeks to comfort, but begins to disintegrate as the poem’s bleak and frightening images continue. Consequently, the return of the A section builds on this dissolution of hope as it proceeds to a scary and dramatic conclusion.


Quatre chansons de jeunesse

 Though commedia dell’arte originated with the traveling theater troupes of Italy, the French embraced the art form early on with the creation of the Commédie-Italienne. Later, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the artwork of Jean-Antoine Watteau breathed new life into the characters, as did the work of famous mime Jean-Gaspard Debarau during the nineteenth century. Pierrot and his comrades were often featured in the poetry of the French poets, most notably Paul Verlaine who was inspired by Watteau’s fête galante style.

Claude Debussy, France’s prominent composer of mélodie, found himself attracted to the commedia characters, setting the poems from Verlaine’s Fête Galantes several times throughout his lifetime. His earliest settings of the Verlaine poems were written for benefactress and coloratura soprano, Madame Vasnier. Among the songs in the Vasnier Songbook were these four mélodie, written between 1882 and 1884, which make up Quatre chansons de jeunesse. These early songs already exhibit the rebellious nature that Debussy comes to be known for: an expanded tonal language, new scalar and chordal structures, and careful prosodic setting of the text.

“Pantomime,” by Paul Verlaine, introduces each of the commedia characters by name. Debussy sets the text playfully (almost clownishly) with staccati, bouncing, dotted rhythms, trills, appoggiaturas, and swinging melodies, with the exception of Columbine, whose high lyrical line is set to rolling triplet arpeggios, perfectly capturing her dream of love. Debussy returns to the playful beginning by setting transformed versions of the opening melodies to a vocalise set over the repeated accompaniment.

The version of “Clair de lune” that appears in Quatre chansons de jeunesse is Debussy’s first setting of the Verlaine text. The second setting is perhaps better known, though this version is not without merit. It opens with descending triads of moonlight that alternate with jangling chords evocative of the strumming of a lute. The vocal line is set in beautiful sweeping lines, anticipating Pierrot’s intoxication by moonlight in Schoenberg’s “Mondestrunken.” The descending chords of the opening return throughout the piece, creating a calm, still atmosphere appropriate to the poem and to the night.

“Pierrot” is perhaps the most playful of these early Debussy songs, as throughout he weaves the popular children’s song “Au clair de la lune.” In the piano introduction alone, Debussy quotes the tune four times. Over the top of this fantaisie-like treatment of the tune, the vocal line sings of the famous mime Jean-Gaspard Debarau leaving the theater, oblivious to the flirtations of all women but one: the moon.

“Apparition” is the first poem Debussy set by symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé, a poet who would become increasingly influential in Debussy’s life. Debussy’s setting of this poem is beautiful and atmospheric, showing even more than a hint of what we would come to expect from his future mélodies and solo piano works. Whereas the three preceding songs establish very tuneful melodies, “Apparition” uses more of the simple prosodic vocal writing Debussy uses regularly in the future. Meanwhile, the piano’s opening arpeggiated figure, like the descending chordal figure in “Clair de lune,” creates a tranquil, melancholy mood upon which Debussy builds his soaring and romantic climax.


Pierrot Lunaire

 In examining the various art forms produced across Europe during the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century, it has been noted that the commedia dell’arte characters, from the early Italian theatrical troupes, appeared with some regularity. Among those most embraced was Pierrot, whose character evolved from that of a zany and naïve clown to that of a tragic, suffering creature, an embodiment of the late Romantic artist who used expression as a screen behind which to hide his anguish. Belgian poet Albert Giraud was among those artists, admitting, “I am a dressed-up Pierrot,” in the final poem of his 1884 creation Pierrot Lunaire: Rondels bergamasque. This set of fifty poems based on Pierrot and his antics, served as a record of Giraud’s rebellion against and then subsequent return to the poetic ideals he had rejected. Giraud used Pierrot and his fellow harlequins to illustrate the despair and emotional distress one experiences when rebelling against convention and the role convention has in the creation of oneself. Eventually, these poems caught the eye of poet and playwright Otto Erich Hartleben, who translated Pierrot Lunaire into German in 1891-1892. It was this translation that would eventually find its way into the hands of Arnold Schoenberg.

In the early spring of 1912, Albertine Zehme, an actress-turned socialite-turned classical singer, commissioned Schoenberg to write music for a song cycle that would use Hartleben’s translation of Pierrot Lunaire. Frau Zehme had previously performed selections of the poetry with dramatic recitation to the music of Otto Vrieslander, a composition analogous to the genre of melodrama that was so popular at the time. In melodrama, a speaker would declaim poetry or a monologue above a musical composition. Frau Zehme, however, was looking for something more, for she believed that neither dramatic recitation nor singing could express adequately the inner experience of emotion. She was hoping to find a collaborator to join her in seeking an unrestricted freedom of tone, one fully committed to expressing the emotional content of a work. Having heard the works of Schoenberg and discussed with him her philosophy, she was sure she had found a kindred collaborator.

At Frau Zehme’s request, Schoenberg wrote Pierrot Lunaire for sprecherin (speaker) and piano, but quickly got permission to add flute/piccolo, violin/viola, clarinet/bass clarinet, and cello. The sprechstimme (speaker part) was much more elaborate than the melodramas that had been written previously, most likely because Frau Zehme continued to push Schoenberg to take full advantage of her training. Schoenberg notated the pitch and rhythm carefully, asking the sprecherin to speak (and occasionally sing) within a range of two and a half octaves and to be able to discriminate spoken pitches to the half step. While there is still much debate over whether the sprechstimme is to be spoken entirely as indicated — Schoenberg himself provided conflicting instruction in this regard — it cannot be denied that what Schoenberg envisioned had never been asked of a speaker or singer previously. It demands, as Frau Zehme had hoped, an unrestricted freedom of tone that is fully committed to the story and the emotional life of the characters.

Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire uses twenty-one poems from Giraud’s fifty-poem cycle. Schoenberg selected the poems and rearranged them in such a way as to create a dramatic arc that was previously non-existent. Whereas Giraud’s cycle chaotically jumps from character to character and scene to scene, Schoenberg’s cycle refines Giraud’s message of rebellion-to-reconciliation by eliminating all poems that do not exhibit a connection to Pierrot, the moon, night, and/or poetry. This allows the listener to follow Pierrot from a place of disenchantment and loneliness to a scary and violent world that would eventually leave him for dead, until Pierrot is reminded of his by-gone days and decides to return home. Schoenberg then deliberately set each poem to a different instrumentation, using the tone colors to aurally paint each scene, whether gruesomely humorous, nightmarishly terrifying, or sincerely genuine. Musically, Schoenberg also included allusions to his own journey away from tonality and traditional musical forms. For example, “Nacht” is set as a passacaglia, “Heimfahrt” as a barcarolle, and canons are used in both “Parodie” and “Mondfleck”. However, other poems are set as a cabaret tune or a piece of free, non-repetitive counterpoint. Likewise, as Pierrot journeys further away from tradition, the music drifts further from a semblance of tonality, only offering nods to tonality when Pierrot is safely headed home.

While this composition is by no means easy to listen to, its story is an important one, and its place in the life of the poet, performer, and composer is equally as significant. In all cases, it is about the search for authentic expression, a goal that seems to be ever elusive. Stravinsky recognized Pierrot Lunaire as “the solar plexus as well as the mind of early-twentieth-century music.” I believe it will continue to serve as an influence on composers, performers, and artists for years to come.


About the Artists

 American soprano Sara Paar is an acclaimed and spirited performer of contemporary classical music, opera, vocal dance, and music theater. Ms. Paar has performed both traditional and new works with New York-based opera companies and orchestras. In the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Paar premiered a brand-new monodrama, Edge, by composer and conductor, Sung Jin Hong, with NYC’s One World Symphony, sang as the soprano soloist in Bach’s Cantata BWV 79 with The Choral Society of the Hamptons, and sang as a guest artist with NY-based string quartet, Quentre. In recent seasons, Ms. Paar created the role of Abby in the world premiere of Brian Schober’s opera Dance of the Stones with NeXus Arts. With the One World Symphony, she performed numerous roles and symphonic works, including the Fox in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Niece 1 in Britten’s Peter Grimes, and the soprano role in a new orchestra arrangement of Schumann’s “Mondnacht.” Other recent performance of new works include Eurydice in Five Words in a Line’s Orefeo, Eurydice, and the Serpent, a satire of the Orpheus story, and Sadie in Brad Kemp and Patrick Keppel’s Triangle, a new music theater piece commemorating the Centennial Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. A native of Wisconsin, Sara Paar received master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Vocal Performance from, respectively, Binghamton University and the University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire. She now lives in New York City, where she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in performance from The Graduate Center. Her major teachers include Stephanie Samaras, Monica Harte, and Mary Burgess. Ms. Paar serves on the music faculty of Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, and is a teacher of singing for the Grammy award-winning Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

A native of France, Audrey Abela’s solo performances include recitals in the United States, South America, France, Spain, Finland and Israel in venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Symphony Space, Steinway Hall, Salle Gaveau, Salle Cortot, and Château de Chantilly. Recently, she has been invited to perform for the 2nd music festival of SPCC in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Passionate about chamber music, she has appeared at Concerts-at-One at the Wall Street Trinity Church with French soprano Camille Dereux for a concert of French melodies. Ms. Abela’s repertoire ranges from Handel to new music, with a particular interest for the music of Schubert and French impressionism. After the completion of her musical studies in France, first with Olivier Cazal, then at the Conservatoire de Boulogne Billancourt with Hortense Cartier Bresson, Audrey Abela moved to New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music from which she now holds a B.M and M.M. There, she has worked with Nina Svetlanova, a pupil of the legendary Heinrich Neuhaus and Marc Silverman. She is currently a doctoral student at CUNY Graduate Center where she was offered a five-year tuition fellowship. In addition, she had the privilege to work with and be influenced by artists such as Menahem Pressler, Paul BaduraSkoda, Akiko Ebi, Robert McDonald, Vladimir Viardo, Boris Slutsky and David Dubal, amongst others. She was a prizewinner in the 2013 Metropolitan international Piano Competition New York. She also took part in many piano festivals including Piano Texas, Pianofest in the Hamptons, International Keyboard Institute and Festival, Banff Piano Masterclasses, Tel Hai Piano Masterclass and Gijon International Piano Festival. Over the years, she has been the recipient of several awards and grants, including the Artur Balsam Endowed Scholarship. In addition to her performing activities, Ms. Abela is a passionate about teaching and holds an active and growing piano studio in New York.

 A versatile and promising performer bringing “sonorous life” to the stage [Cleveland Plain Dealer], cellist Caroline Bean’s musical endeavors cover the span of solo, chamber, and orchestral playing. As a soloist noted for her “style and virtuosity” [ClevelandClassical], Carrie has performed with the Florida Orchestra and the Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra of Cleveland, where she was also a section and touring member. As a chamber musician Carrie held a two-year residency at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia with the Atlas Piano Trio. She has collaborated with such artists as Jaime Laredo, Charles Neidich, and Rolf Schulte, and has appeared at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, and Santa Cruz’s Music in May. Other performance highlights include chamber and orchestral concerts at Carnegie Hall, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, St.Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, a White House Conference, and a gathering of the Organization of American States in Medellín, Colombia. From 2009 to 2011 Carrie was a member of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach. She has also performed with the San Francisco and Berkeley symphonies and was an orchestral fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center. Her work with various ensembles can be heard on the Avie and GlorClassics recording labels. As a performer who values the work of today’s composers, Carrie begins a collaboration this fall with the New York-based ensemble Hotel Elefant, with performances at Zankel Hall and Brooklyn’s Roulette. She was soloist at the 2010 Aldeburgh Festival in England in a premiere reading of Fang Man’s Tao for Sheng, Cello, and Orchestra. She has collaborated with such composers as John Adams, Thomas Adès, Oliver Knussen, and Michael Gordon in performances of their works, and took part in the Tanglewood’s Elliott Carter Centennial celebration. Carrie currently teaches cello and chamber music at Queens College and is a cello instructor at the Harlem Opus 118 School. In 2012 she was a guest teaching artist for the National Youth Orchestra of Honduras as a part of an arts teaching initiative sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. Carrie holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, where her primary teachers included Steven Doane and Janos Starker. A resident of New York City, Carrie is recipient of an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, where she is pursuing doctoral studies.

 Acclaimed for performing repertoire ranging from orchestral literature to experimental electronic music, flutist and composer Melissa Keeling is a sought-after artist based in New York City. She is a member of SONYQ, an electric flute and guitar duo whose debut solo album was released in 2010. Mrs. Keeling is active on YouTube, and her instructional videos and performances have gained over 200,000 views worldwide. Mrs. Keeling has appeared as a soloist with the Bowling-Green Western Symphony Orchestra and the Middle Tennessee State University Chamber Orchestra. She frequently performs and presents workshops at various flute festivals, including a solo performance at the National Flute Association National Convention in Las Vegas in 2012. She also presented her compositions for flute and electronics in multiple lecture-recitals at the same convention in New Orleans in 2013. She has performed as principal flutist with numerous orchestras, wind ensembles, and chamber groups. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) and the National Flute Association. Mrs. Keeling is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the City University of New York, and holds degrees from Middle Tennessee State University (MA) and Western Kentucky University (BS). She has participated in master classes with Michel Debost, Keith Underwood, Alexa Still, Brad Garner, and abroad with Rhonda Larson in Italy. Mrs. Keeling has studied with Heidi Pintner Álvarez, Deanna Hahn Little, and Robert Dick.

 American clarinetist, Ashleé Miller, has been praised for her rich “color and imagination” [NPR]. Winner of the 2005 North Carolina Soloist competition, Ashleé made her solo debut at the age of sixteen with the North Carolina Symphony on their opening tour. She was the first clarinetist to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist award, which included a $10,000 career grant, a performance on NPR’s “From the Top,” and a community art project sponsored by NPR. Additionally, she has been featured on WDAV’s “In Person” and her performances have appeared on radio stations throughout the country. Ashleé was a featured performer in the Young Musician’s Forum recital series and has appeared as a guest artist with the Elysium Ensemble and Alaria Trio at Carnegie Hall. She is the former principal of the New York Youth Symphony and member of the Mannes Orchestra. Aside from performing, Ashleé teaches a private studio of twenty-five musicians and occasionally demonstrates clarinet in the New York Philharmonic’s “Young People’s Concerts” and “Very Young People’s Concerts” KidZones. She has published numerous program notes in the Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully PLAYBILL for the Mannes Orchestra. Ashleé has held fellowships at the Bowdoin International Music festival and Sarasota Music Festival, and is an alumna of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She received her high school diploma with a concentration in music from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts and was awarded her Bachelor and Master Degrees from Mannes College of Music, graduating as student speaker, winning honors and the Lotte Pulvermacher-Egers Humanities Award. Ashleé is currently a Doctoral of Musical Arts candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center where she studies with Charles Neidich. Ashleé teaches at the CUNY College of Staten Island and is a member of the Parhelion Trio.

 American violinist Emily Vold is an active and versatile performer of chamber and orchestral music. As a chamber musician, Emily has appeared with the Mannes American Composers Ensemble in the ensemble’s Alice Tully Hall debut. Additionally, she has collaborated with the Newman and Oltman Guitar Duo in a concert that has been broadcast on WWFM, and is a member of Trio des Waldes, a horn trio that has performed throughout NYC and on the Bucks County (PA) Performing Arts concert series. As an orchestral violinist, she regularly performs with the Symphony of Westchester and the Chappaqua Orchestra; previously, she served as concertmaster of the Mannes Orchestra, Columbus State University Philharmonic, and the pit orchestra for LoftOpera, and as section violinist in the Columbus and LaGrange Symphony Orchestras. She was an orchestral fellow with the National Repertory Orchestra, and has attended the Bowdoin International and Madeline Island Music Festivals. Emily maintains a private teaching studio in the NYC area, and in the summer of 2013 appeared as Junior Faculty at the Stringwood Chamber Music Camp. She received her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Columbus State University, where she was named the Presser Scholar, and received her master’s from Mannes College of Music. Currently, Emily is pursuing a DMA in Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her major teachers include Daniel Phillips, Lewis Kaplan, Muneko Otani, and Sergiu Schwartz.


Texts and Translations

Colombetta: Serenata veneziana Colombetta: Venetian serenade
La bella ColombettaAl caldo si riposa

Ma vuol far un tantin la ritrosa

Al balcone mostrarsi non va

Rimane la furbetta.

Dietro al balcon ascosa,

Ascoltando la voce amorosa

D’Arlecchino l’amante fedel

Che di fuori all’acqua al vento

Chiede grazia e vuole entrar

E ripete dolcemente

La sua mite canzonetta,

Colombetta, Colombetta,

Apri l’uscio, non farmi penar

Del balcon solleva il velo

Apri amor se no qui gelo

Colombetta, Colombetta

Arlecchino gelando si sta.

Accorda il mandolin,

Il povero Arlecchin.

Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! che fu?

Non canta più

Oh! povero Arlecchin!!!


È forse là!!!



Sei vivo?

Vieni qua

Deh, vieni poveretto

Amante mio fedele,

Colombetta fu troppo crudele

Di lasciarti là fuori a gelar.

Ti vieni a riscaldare

Dalla tua Colombetta

Nella piccola sua cameretta

E seduti vicino al Camin

Parleran del loro amore,

Colombetta ed Arlecchin

Già ti sento mormorare

E ripeter: Mia diletta

Colombetta, Colombetta

Arlecchino sol vive per tè

Ed allor a te vicino

Ti dirò caro Arlecchino:

Colombetta, Colombetta, è tutta per te

Vieni sorridimi caro Arlecchin

Bacciami pizzica stammi vicin.


The beautiful Colombettaretires while it is warm,

But, wanting to be a little coy,

She does not show herself on the balcony

and continues her artful ways.

She hides behind the balcony

Listening to the beloved voice

of Arlecchino, the faithful lover,

who, outdoors in the rain and the wind,

asks for mercy as he wants to come in

and he repeats sweetly

his gentle little song,

Colombetta, Colombetta,

open the door, don’t make me suffer.

She raises the curtain of the balcony.

Open, love, if not, I will freeze here.

Colombetta, Colombetta,

Arlecchino is here freezing.

He tunes his mandolin,

Poor Arlecchino,

Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! What happened?

He sings no more

Oh! Poor Arlecchino!!!


He is perhaps frozen out there!!!



Are you alive?

Come here.

Pray come, poor little one,

My faithful lover,

Colombetta was too cruel

leaving you outside to freeze.

Come here to warm yourself

with your Colombetta.

In her little room,

seated near the fireplace,

they talk of their love.

Colombetta and Arlecchino.

Already I hear you murmuring

and repeating: My delight

Colombetta, Colombetta

Arlecchino lives only for you.

And then beside you

I will tell you, dear Arlecchino:

Colombetta, Colombetta, is all yours.

Come, smile at me, dear Arlecchino,

Kiss me, bite me, stay near me.


-translation by Ruth C. Lakeway and Robert C. White, Jr.


Quatre chansons de jeunesse Four Songs of Youth
Pierrot qui n’a rien d’un ClitandreVide un flacon sans plus attendre

Et, praticque, entame un pâté.

Cassandre, au fond de l’avenue,

Verse une larme méconnue

Sur son neveu déshérité.

Ce faquin d’Arlequin combine

L’enlèvement de Colombine

Et pirouette quatre fois.

Colombine rêve, surprise

De sentir un coeur dans la brise

Et d’entendre en son coeur des voix.

Pierrot, who is nothing like Clitandre,empties a bottle without ado,

and, ever practical, cuts into a pâté

Cassander, at the end of the avenue,

sheds a concealed tear

for his disinherited nephew

That impertinent Harlequin schemes

the abduction of Columbine

and twirls around four times

Columbine dreams, surprised

at feeling a heart in the breeze

and at hearing voices in her heart.

-translation by Laura Claycomb and Peter Grunberg


CLAIR DE LUNE, 1ère version (Paul Verlaine) MOONLIGHT
Votre âme est un paysage choisiQue vont charmant masques et bergamasques,

Jouant du luth et dansant, et quasi

Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques!

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur

L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune.

Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur,

Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,

Qui fait rêver, les oiseaux dans les arbres,

Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,

Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

Your soul is a chosen landscapecharmed by masquers and revellers

playing the lute and dancing and almost

sad beneath their fanciful disguises!

Even while singing, in a minor key,

of victorious love and fortunate living

they do not seem to believe in their happiness,

and their song mingles with the moonlight,

the calm moonlight, sad and beautiful,

which sets the birds in the trees dreaming,

and makes the fountains sob with ecstasy,

the tall slender fountains among the marble statues!

-translation by Peter Low


PIERROT (Théodore de Banville) PIERROT
Le bon Pierrot, que la foule contemple,Ayant fini les noces d’Arlequin,

Suit en songeant le boulevard du Temple.

Une fillete au souple casaquin

En vain l’agace de son oeil coquin;

Et cependant mystérieuse et lisse

Faisant de lui sa plus chère délice,

La blanche lune aux cornes de taureau

Jette un regard de son oeil en coulisse

À son ami Jean Gaspard Deburau.

Good old Pierrot, at whom the crowd gapes,having concluded Harlequin’s wedding,

walks along the Boulevard du Temple, lost in thought.

A girl in a supple garment

vainly teases him with a mischievous look;

And meanwhile, mysterious and smooth,

taking her sweetest delight in him,

the white moon, bull-horned,

throws a furtive glance

at her friend Jean Gaspard Deburau.

-translation by Bertram Kottman

La lune s’attristait. Des séraphins en pleursRêvant, l’archet aux doigts, dans le calme des fleurs

Vaporeuses, tiraient de mourantes violes

De blancs sanglots glissant sur l’azur des corolles. —C’était le jour béni de ton premier baiser.

Ma songerie aimant à me martyriser

S’enivrait savamment du parfum de tristesse

Que même sans regret et sans déboire laisse

La cueillaison d’un Rêve au coeur qui l’a cueilli.

J’errais donc, l’oeil rivé sur le pavé vieilli

Quand avec du soleil aux cheveux, dans la rue

Et dans le soir, tu m’es en riant apparue

Et j’ai cru voir la fée au chapeau de clarté

Qui jadis sur mes beaux sommeils d’enfant gâté

Passait, laissant toujours de ses mains mal fermées

Neiger de blancs bouquets d’étoiles parfumées.

The moon was saddened. Seraphim in tearsDreamed, the bow to their fingers, in the calm of flowers

Vaporous, torn from mordant viols

Of white sighs gliding on the azure of corollas.

—It was the blessed day of your first kiss.

My reverie, whose love in torturing me persists,

Got drunk knowingly on the perfume of sadness

That left, even without regret and without distress,

The culling of a dream in a heart that had it culled.

I wandered thus, eyes riveted on the aged cobblestone

When with the sunlight in your hair, on the street

And in the evening, you appeared to me laughing

And I thought I saw the fairy in a hat of luminosity

Who once in a spoiled child’s beautiful sleep

Passed, ever dropping from her carelessly closed hand

a snow of white bouquets of perfumed stars.


Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21(Albert Giraud, trans. Otto Erich Hartleben) Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21
Den Wein, den man mit Augen trinkt,Gießt Nachts der Mond in Wogen nieder,

Und eine Springflut überschwemmt

Den stillen Horizont.


Gelüste schauerlich und süß,

Durchschwimmen ohne Zahl die Fluten!

Den Wein, den man mit Augen trinkt,

Gießt Nachts der Mond in Wogen nieder.


Der Dichter, den die Andacht treibt,

Berauscht sich an dem heilgen Tranke,

Gen Himmel wendet er verzückt

Das Haupt und taumelnd saugt und schlürft er

Den Wein, den man mit Augen trinkt.

The wine that one drinks with one’s eyes,Poured at night by the moon in descending waves,

And a spring tide overflows

The still horizon.


Desires horrible and sweet,

Swim through the waters without limit!

The wine that one drinks with one’s eyes,

Poured at night by the moon in descending waves.


The poet, urged on by his prayers,

Intoxicated by the sacred drink,

Toward the heavens turns his head in rapture

And stumbling, sucks and slurps

The wine that one drinks with one’s eyes.


Des Mondlichts bleiche Bluten,Die weißen Wunderrosen,

Blühn in den Julinachten –

O brach ich eine nur!


Mein banges Leid zu lindern,

Such ich am dunklen Strome

Des Mondlichts bleiche Blüten,

Die weißen Wunderrosen.


Gestillt war all mein Sehnen,

Dürft ich so märchenheimlich,

So selig leis – entblättern

Auf deine brauenen Haare

Des Mondlichts bleiche Blüten!

The moonlight’s pale blossoms,The white wonder-roses,

Bloom on July nights –

O, if I could just pick one!


To relieve my anxious suffering,

I seek at the dark stream,

The moonlight’s pale blossoms,

The white wonder-roses.


All my longing would be stilled,

If I were permitted with fairy-tale slyness,

So blissfully soft – to scatter

On your brown hair

The moonlight’s pale blossoms!


Mit einem phantastischen LichtstrahlErleuchtet der Mond die krystallnen Flacons

Auf dem schwarzen, hochheiligen Waschtisch

Des schweigenden Dandys von Bergamo.


In tönender, bronzener Schale

Lacht hell die Fontaine, metallischen Klangs.

Mit einem phantastischen Lichtstrahl

Erleuchtet der Mond die krystallnen Flacons.


Pierrot mit dem wächsernen Antlitz

Steht sinnend und denkt: wie er heute sich schminkt?

Fort schiebt er das Rot und das Orients Grün

Und bemalt sein Gesicht in erhabenem Stil

Mit einem phantastischen Mondstrahl.

With a fantastic light beamThe moon illuminates the crystalline vials

On the black, holiest washstand

Of the quiet dandy from Bergamo.


In the resounding, bronze basin

The fountain laughs brightly, a metallic din.

With a fantastic light beam

The moon illuminates the crystalline vials.


Pierrot with his waxen face

Stands pensive and thinks: how should he wear make-up today?

He shoves aside the red and the Orient’s green

And paints his face in a grand style

With a fantastic moonbeam!


Eine blasse WäscherinWäscht zur Nachtzeit bleiche Tücher;

Nackte, silberweiße Arme

Streckt sie nieder in die Flut.


Durch die Lichtung schleichen Winde,

Leis bewegen sie den Strom.

Eine blasse Wäscherin

Wäscht zur Nachtzeit bleiche Tücher.


Und die sanfte Magd des Himmels,

Von den Zweigen zart umschmeichelt,

Breitet auf die dunklen Wiesen

Ihre lichtgewobnen Linnen –

Eine blasse Wäscherin.

A pale laundressWashes the nighttime’s bleached fabrics;

Naked, silver-white arms

She stretches down in the current.


Wind creeps through the clearing,

Lightly it stirs the stream.

A pale laundress

Washes the nighttime’s bleached fabrics.


And the gentle maid of the heavens,

By the branches tenderly beloved,

Spreads on the dark meadows

Her light-woven linens—

A pale laundress.


Wie ein blasser Tropfen BlutsFärbt die Lippen einer Kranken,

Also ruht auf diesen Tönen

Ein vernichtungssüchtger Reiz.


Wilder Lust Accorde stören

Der Verzweiflung eisgen Traum –

Wie ein blasser Tropfen Bluts

Färbt die Lippen einer Kranken.


Heiß und jauchzend, süß und schmachtend,

Melancholisch düstrer Walzer,

Kommst mir nimmer aus den Sinnen!

Haftest mir an den Gedanken,

Wie ein blasser Tropfen Bluts!

As a pale drop of bloodBrightens the lips of an invalid,

So there lurks within these notes

A charm that hungers for annihilation.


Wild lusty chords disturb

Despair, the icy dream –

As a pale drop of blood

Brightens the lips of an invalid.


Hot and ecstatic, sweet and languishing,

Melancholy, somber waltz,

Never leave my senses!

Cling to my thoughts,

Like a pale drop of blood!


Steig, o Mutter aller Schmerzen,Auf den Altar meiner Verse!

Blut aus deinen magren Brusten

Hat des Schwertes Wut vergossen.


Deine ewig frischen Wunden

Gleichen Augen, rot und offen.

Steig, o Mutter aller Schmerzen,

Auf den Altar meiner Verse!


In den abgezehrten Händen

Hältst du deines Sohnes Leiche.

Ihn zu zeigen aller Menschheit –

Doch der Blick der Menschen meidet

Dich, o Mutter aller Schmerzen!

Rise, O Mother of all sorrow,To the altar of my verses!

Blood from your withered breasts

Has been shed by the raging sword.


Your eternally fresh wounds

Like eyes, red and open.

Rise, O Mother of all sorrow,

To the Altar of my verses!


In your emaciated hands

You hold your Son’s corpse,

To show to all humanity –

But the gaze of men avoids

You, O Mother of all sorrow!


Du nächtig todeskranker MondDort auf des Himmels schwarzem Pfühl,

Dein Blick, so fiebernd übergroß,

Bannt mich wie fremde Melodie.


An unstillbarem Liebesleid

Stirbst du, an Sehnsucht, tief erstickt,

Du nächtig todeskranker Mond

Dort auf des Himmels schwarzem Pfühl.


Den Liebsten, der im Sinnenrausch

Gedankenlos zur Liebsten geht,

Belustigt deiner Strahlen Spiel –

Dein bleiches, qualgebornes Blut,

Du nächtig todeskranker Mond.

You nightly deathly ill moonThere on the sky’s black cushion,

Your aspect, so feverishly enlarged,

Enchants me, like a strange melody.


An unhealing love wound

Kills you, with longing, deeply smothered,

You nightly deathly ill moon

There on the sky’s black cushion.


The lover, who in sensual delirium

Goes indifferently to his love,

Delights in your beams’ play –

Your bleached, agony-wrenched blood,

You nightly deathly ill moon.


Finstre, schwarze RiesenfalterTöteten der Sonne Glanz.

Ein geschlossnes Zauberbuch,

Ruht der Horizont – verschwiegen.


Aus dem Qualm verlorner Tiefen

Steigt ein Duft, Erinnrung mordend!

Finstre, schwarze Reisenfalter

Töteten der Sonne Glanz.


Und vom Himmel erdenwärts

Senken sich mit schweren Schwingen

Unsichtbar die Ungetüme

Auf die Menschenherzen nieder…

Finstre, schwarze Riesenfalter

Murky, black giant butterfliesKilled the sun’s brilliance.

A closed spell-book

Sprawls on the Horizon – furtively.


From the smoldering of lost depths

Arises a scent, killing memory!

Murky, black giant butterflies

Killed the sun’s brilliance.


And from heaven earthward

Descending on heavy wings

Unseen the monsters

To human hearts below…

Murky, black, giant butterflies.


Pierrot! Mein LachenHab ich verlernt!

Das Bild des Glanzes

Zerfloß – Zerfloß!


Schwarz weht die Flagge

Mir nun vom Mast.

Pierrot! Mein Lachen

Hab ich verlernt!


O gieb mir wieder,

Roßarzt der Seele,

Schneemann der Lyrik,

Durchlaucht vom Monde,

Pierrot – mein Lachen

Pierrot! My laughterI have forgotten!

The picture of brilliance

Dissolved – dissolved!


Black waves the flag

Now from my mast.

Pierrot! My laughter

I have forgotten!


O give me again,

Horse doctor of the soul,

Snowman of the lyric,

Lord of the moon,

Pierrot – my laughter!


Rote, fürstliche Rubine,Blutge Tropfen alten Ruhmes,

Schlummern in den Totenschreinen,

Drunten in den Grabgewolben.


Nachts, mit seinen Zechkumpanen,

Steigt Pierrot hinab – zu rauben

Rote, fürstliche Rubine,

Blutge Tropfen alten Ruhmes.


Doch da – strauben sich die Haare,

Bleiche Furcht bannt sie am Platze:

Durch die Finsternis – wie Augen! –

Stieren aus den Totenschreinen

Rote, fürstliche Rubine.

Red, princely rubies,Bloody drops of ancient glory,

Slumber in the coffins,

Down in the burial vaults.


By night, with his drinking buddies,

Climbs Pierrot down – to rob

Red, princely rubies,

Bloody drops of ancient glory.


But there – stands up his hair,

Pale fear fixes them in place:

Through the darkness – like eyes! –

Glaring from the coffins

Red, princely rubies.


Zu grausem Abendmahle,Beim Blendeglanz des Goldes,

Beim Flackerschein der Kerzen,

Naht dem Altar – Pierrot!


Die Hand, die gottgeweihte,

Zerreißt die Priesterkleider

Zu grausem Abendmahle,

Beim Blendeglanz des Goldes


Mit segnender Geberde

Zeigt er den bangen Seelen

Die triefend rote Hostie:

Sein Herz – in blutgen Fingern –

Zu grausem Abendmahle!

To a horrible communion,With the dazzling brilliance of gold,

With the flickering light of candles,

Nearing the altar – Pierrot!


His hand, consecrated by God,

Rips the priestly vestments.

To a horrible communion,

With the dazzling brilliance of gold.


With a gesture of benediction

He shows the worried souls

The gushing red host:

His heart – in bloody fingers –

For a horrible communion!


Die dürre DirneMit langem Halse

Wird seine letzte

Geliebte sein.


In seinem Hirne

Steckt wie ein Nagel

Die dürre Dirne

Mit langem Halse.


Schlank wie die Pinie,

Am Hals ein Zöpfchen –

Wollüstig wird sie

Den Schelm umhalsen,

Die dürre Dirne!

The bony whoreWith a long neck

Will his last

Lover be.


In his brain

Stuck like a nail

The bony whore

With a long neck.


Skinny like a pine,

On the neck a ribbon –

Lustfully she will

Embrace the rogue,

The bony whore!


Der Mond, ein blankes TürkenschwertAuf einem schwarzen Seidenkissen,

Gespenstisch groß – dräut er hinab

Durch schmerzendunkle Nacht.


Pierrot irrt ohne Rast umher

Und starrt empor in Todesängsten

Zum Mond, dem blanken Türkenschwert

Auf einem schwarzen Seidenkissen.


Es schlottern unter ihm die Knie,

Ohnmächtig bricht er jäh zusammen.

Er wähnt: es sause strafend schon

Auf seinen Sünderhals hernieder

Der Mond, das blanke Türkenschwert.

The moon, a shining scimitarOn a black silk cushion,

Ghostly large – menaces down

Through sorrowfully dark night.


Pierrot stumbles about restlessly

And stares up in mortal terror

At the moon, a shining scimitar

On a black silk cushion.


His knees rattle under him,

Swooning he collapses completely.

He imagines it: it already vengefully whizzes

Towards his sinful neck

The moon, the shining scimitar.


Heilge Kreuze sind die Verse,Dran die Dichter stumm verbluten,

Blindgeschlagen von der Geier

Flatterndem Gespensterschwarme!


In den Leibern schwelgten Schwerter,

Prunkend in des Blutes Scharlach!

Heilge Kreuze sind die Verse,

Dran die Dichter stumm verbluten.


Tot das Haupt – erstarrt die Locken –

Fern, verweht der Lärm des Pöbels.

Langsam sinkt die Sonne nieder,

Eine rote Königskrone. –

Heilge Kreuze sind die Verse!

Holy crosses are the verses,To which poets silently hemorrhage,

Struck blink by the vultures

Fluttering in a spectral swarm!


Their bodies are fodder for swords,

Reveling in the blood’s scarlet!

Holy crosses are the verses,

To which poets silently hemorrhage.


Dead the head – stiff the tresses –

Far-off, wafts the roar of the mob.

Slowly the sun sets,

A red kingly crown. –

Holy crosses are the verses!


Lieblich klagend – ein krystallnes SeufzenAus Italiens alter Pantomime,

Klingts herüber: wie Pierrot so holzern,

So modern sentimental geworden.


Und es tönt durch seines Herzens Wüste,

Tönt gedämpft durch alle Sinne wieder,

Lieblich klagend – ein krystallnes Seufzen

Aus Italiens alter Pantomime.


Da vergißt Pierrot die Trauermienen!

Durch den bleichen Feuerschein des Mondes,

Durch des Lichtmeers Fluten – schweift die Sehnsucht

Kühn hinauf, empor zum Heimathimmel

Lieblich klagend – ein krystallnes Seufzen!

Sweetly lamenting – a crystalline sighFrom Italy’s ancient pantomime,

Echoes down: that Pierrot has become

So wooden, so fashionably sentimental.


And it sounds through his heart’s wasteland,

Sounding muted through all his senses,

Sweetly lamenting – a crystalline sigh

From Italy’s ancient pantomime.


Then Pierrot forgets his tragic facade!

Through the pale-fire glow of the moon,

Through the sea of light’s flood – disperses the longing

Boldly upwards, rising to the homeland sky,

Sweetly lamenting – a crystalline sigh!


In den blanken Kopf Cassanders,Dessen Schrein die Luft durchzetert,

Bohrt Pierrot mit Heuchlermienen,

Zärtlich – einen Schädelbohrer!


Darauf stopft er mit dem Daumen

Seinen echten türkischen Taback

In den blanken Kopf Cassanders,

Dessen Schrein die Luft durchzetert!


Dann dreht er ein Rohr von Weichsel

Hinten in die glatte Glatze

Und behaglich schmaucht und pafft er

Seinen echten türkischen Taback

Aus dem blanken Kopf Cassanders!

Into the shining head of Cassander,Whose screams inundate the air,

Bores Pierrot with a hypocritical air,

Tenderly – a skull-drill!


Then with his thumbs he plugs

His genuine Turkish tobacco

Into the shining head of Cassander,

Whose screams inundate the air!


Then he twists a cherry-wood tube

Behind the smooth bald head

And he contentedly smokes and puffs

His genuine Turkish tobacco

Out of the shining head of Cassander!


Stricknadeln, blank und blinkend,In ihrem grauen Haar,

Sitzt die Duenna murmelnd,

Im roten Röckchen da.


Sie wartet in der Laube,

Sie liebt Pierrot mit Schmerzen,

Stricknadeln, blank und blinkend,

In ihrem grauen Haar.


Da plötzlich – horch! – ein Wispern!

Ein Windhauch kichert leise:

Der Mond, der böse Spötter,

Äfft nach mit seinen Strahlen –

Stricknadeln, blink und blank.

Knitting needles, bright and brilliant,In her graying hair,

The duenna sits murmuring,

In a red frock.


She waits in the bower,

She loves Pierrot with heartache.

Knitting needles, bright and brilliant,

In her graying hair.


Then suddenly – listen! – a whisper!

A breeze snickers lightly:

The moon, the evil mimic,

Imitates with its beams –

Knitting needles, brilliant and bright.


Einen weißen Fleck des hellen MondesAuf dem Rücken seines schwarzen Rockes,

So spaziert Pierrot im lauen Abend,

Aufzusuchen Glück und Abenteuer.


Plötzlich stört ihn was an seinem Anzug,

Er besieht sich rings und findet richtig –

Einen weißen Fleck des hellen Mondes

Auf dem Rücken seines schwarzen Rockes.


Warte! denkt er: das ist so ein Gipsfleck!

Wischt und wischt, doch – bringt ihn nicht herunter!

Und so geht er, giftgeschwollen, weiter,

Reibt und reibt bis an den frühen Morgen –

Einen weißen Fleck des hellen Mondes.

A white spot of the bright moonOn the back of his black coat,

As Pierrot sets forth into the warm evening

Looking for good fortune and adventure.


Suddenly disturbed by what is on his suit,

He inspects himself and finds immediately –

A white spot of the bright moon

On the back of his black coat.


Wait! He thinks: it is only a plaster smudge!

Wipes and wipes, however – he cannot brush it off!

And so he goes, filled with venom, onward,

Rubbing and rubbing until the early morning –

A white spot of the bright moon.


Mit groteskem RiesenbogenKratzt Pierrot auf seiner Bratsche,

Wie der Storch auf einem Beine,

Knipst er trüb ein Pizzicato.


Plötzlich naht Cassander – wütend

Ob des nächtgen Virtuosen –

Mit groteskem Riesenbogen

Kratzt Pierrot auf seiner Bratsche.


Von sich wirft er jetzt die Bratsche:

Mit der delikaten Linken

Faßt er den Kahlkopf am Kragen –

Träumend spielt er auf der Glatze

Mit groteskem Riesenbogen.

With a grotesque gigantic bowPierrot scrapes on his viola,

Like a stork on one leg,

He mournfully snaps a pizzicato.


Suddenly Cassander approaches – furious

Over the nighttime virtuoso –

With a grotesque gigantic bow

Pierrot scrapes on his viola.


Thus he tosses aside the viola:

With a delicate left hand

He seizes the baldy by the collar –

Dreamily he plays on the shiny dome

With grotesque gigantic bow.


Der Mondstrahl ist das Ruder,Seerose dient als Boot;

Drauf fährt Pierrot gen Süden

Mit gutem Reisewind.


Der Strom summt tiefe Skalen

Und wiegt den leichten Kahn.

Der Mondstrahl ist das Ruder,

Seerose dient als Boot.


Nach Bergamo, zur Heimat,

Kehrt nun Pierrot zurück;

Schwach dämmert schon im Osten

Der grüne Horizont.

– Der Mondstrahl ist das Ruder.

The moonbeam is the rudder,Water-lily serves as the boat;

Which carries Pierrot to the South

With good sailing wind.


The stream hums low scales

And rocks the light craft.

The moonbeam is the rudder,

Water-lily serves as the boat.


Towards Bergamo, his homeland,

Pierrot returns at last;

Already there faintly dawns in the East

The green horizon.

– The moonbeam is the rudder.


O alter Duft – aus Märchenzeit,Berauschest wieder meine Sinne;

Ein närrisch Heer von Schelmerein

Durchschwirrt die leichte Luft.


Ein glückhaft Wünschen macht mich froh

Nach Freuden, die ich lang verachtet:

O alter Duft – aus Märchenzeit,

Berauschest wieder mich!


All meinen Unmut gab ich preis;

Aus meinem sonnumrahmten Fenster

Beschau ich frei die liebe Welt

Und träum hinaus in selge Weiten…

O alter Duft – aus Märchenzeit!


O ancient fragrance – of a fairytale age,Intoxicate again my senses!

A knavish army of merry pranks

Swirls through the tranquil air.


A blessed desire cheerfully leads me

To joys, which I have long disdained.

O ancient fragrance – of a fairytale age,

Intoxicate again my senses!


All my discontent I now relinquish;

From my sun-framed window

I marvel over the dear world

And dream further to glorious reaches…

O ancient fragrance – of a fairytale age!


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