For this year’s Adelaide Festival, Kim Williams has curated a fascinating cycle of concerts at UKARIA Cultural Centre, pitting 20th-century European masterpieces with the finest chamber works from the finest of Australian composers from Grainger through to Elena Kats-Chernin.
This program at Adelaide Town Hall, which is planned around Arnold Schoenberg’s atonal cabaret masterpiece, Pierrot Lunaire(1912), provides a snapshot of the concerts to be heard this weekend within the ideal acoustics of UKARIA as part of Williams’ Incredible Floridas: Chamber Landscapesseries.
It was the doyenne of avant-garde vocalism, the divine mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian, who stated that modern music had been defined by works whose model was Pierrot Lunaire– a work which somehow broke down the distinctions between singing, acting and declamation. It is a difficult piece for the singer to bring off successfully as its sprechstimme, the pitched narrative style, is often at best approximate in performances both live and recorded – with the diseuseoften unattractively swooping up or down to the required note.
The mezzo Jessica Aszodi is an all too rare example of an artist...