You Review: Ensemble InterContemporain at Wigmore Hall

An expert rendition of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire

You Review: Ensemble InterContemporain at Wigmore Hall

As the name suggests, Ensemble InterContemporain is a French group of musicians who deliver up-to-date performances of works from the last century. What drew me particularly to this concert was the inclusion of Pierrot Lunaire, one of Schoenberg’s most renowned masterpieces.

The ensemble was joined by French soprano Salomé Haller and together they delivered an expert rendition of the work. If anything, though, I felt the setting was slightly over dramatised for a concert hall. The singer’s empathy with the narrator and Pierrot were spot on, but I couldn’t help feel that the way she was crawling around on a chair during select scenes would have better suited for a theatre production. The works that preceded this piece highlighted this theatrical grey area even more.

Luigi Dallapiccola’s Due Studi for violin and piano is a work that compliments Schoenberg’s instrumental handling almost perfectly. It opened tonight’s concert and the two performers made this expressionistic display of rhythm and melody refined and delightful.

It was followed by the world premiere of Bruno Mantovani’s new work for cello, clarinet and piano, in which the sheer skill of the ensemble was further brought to light. Powering through Mantovani’s discomforting minor seconds, which contrast with moments of delicate piano chords, made for a thrilling ride.

Altogether this program makes perfect sense, with all the pieces bringing the subtleties of one another to the forefront. Ensemble InterContemporain have mastered the technical abilities when it comes to accenting the nuances of modern music, something that sets it apart from other ensembles. 


Lewis Wolstanholme, London





Review: Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire (Schäfer; Ensemble InterContemporain/Boulez)

Review: Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire (Dresden Staatskapelle)

A guide to Arnold Schoenberg


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