Jeff Lederer’s Schoenberg on the Beach

Jeff Lederer’s Schoenberg on the Beach

Sunday, October 1, 7:30 pm until 9:30 pm
Presented by the Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares. 7:30-9:30

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Jeff Lederer’s “Schoenberg on the Beach” is an 8-part song cycle of music based on the early vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern. The instrumentation for the piece is voice, clarinets/woodwinds, cello, vibes, bass and drums. There is direct inspiration from the instrumentation of “Pierrot Lunaire” and the style of the vocal production will be drawn from the original sources, a kind of sprech-stimme approach to the written material as well as the personal jazz phrasing of the vocalist themselves. The work includes elements of arrangement of the original sources including Pierrot, and the Hanging Gardens song-cycle, with approaches ranging from strict to loose as well as new composition and improvisation from the group.

Schoenberg (His Son was my High School Math Teacher)- There is a direct personal connection of Schoenberg’s early vocal music for me – I grew up in Los Angeles where in the 12th grade of high school my Calculus teacher was Larry Schoenberg – the composer Arnold Schoenberg’s son – Schoenberg had relocated to Los Angeles in 1934 in a retreat from the rise of Nazi Germany to take a position teaching at UCLA. Larry Schoenberg had no interest in discussing his father’s work, but it sowed the seeds of interest in my mind at that time – I can recall getting up the courage to ask Mr. Schoenberg one day “I heard your father invented a new kind of scale?”, to which he replied sternly, “we are here to discuss mathematics, not music”.

On the Beach - Our school was about a quarter mile away from the beach, and some students would show up for class with Mr. Schoenberg to class in wetsuits after a morning of surfing. Arnold Schoenberg also enjoyed the beach in his new home of California as witnessed by photographs of him in his bathing trunks at that very same beach. These archival photos show a kind of joy in the moment enjoying sun and surf that seems at odds with the spirit of some of Schoenberg’s later music, but in fact I found out that much of the early vocal music of Schoenberg has an uplifting and romantic quality that is right at home on the beach, and in fact he wrote a number of songs based on themes of the seaside during summertime.

Luna Park - Another point of connection is around my long-time residence in Brooklyn, and my love for Coney Island. The “Luna Park” theme park opened there in 1912, the same year as the premiere of “Pierrot” . It has always occurred to me that they both share a deep exploration of the human psyche-through in “Pierrot” and the expressionist poets from whom Schoenberg gained inspiration in his early vocal works that exploration is a deeply internal process, while these same dark places in the human mind are externalized in the theme park attractions of Luna Park such as “Hell Hole”.

Posted to: Upcoming Events at the Shea on 2023-09-05 18:13:26 (updated 2023-09-05 18:13:52).

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