In writing the second of my pieces for the Schoenberg Institutes Pierrot text project I took a “period” approach: I tried to enter the feverish world of the early part of the century, and give to the text the kind of virtuosity and flair of a true believer. This involves a bit of acting. One of the fascinating things about this project was discovering the remoteness of these texts, which we know as the hopped-up, colorful material which inspired Schoenberg, but which from the present perspective are strange curiosities. Some poetry from long ago is completely fresh to us, some depends more on being there.
It would seem that this text needs mirror effects in the music, but I went instead for little shafts of light and color, and speed (it must be played at the indicated tempo). Everything about the approach differs from my other Pierrot text piece, which was formal and parodistic, a modern commentary.
— John Harbison
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