»The wine we drink with our eyes / flows nightly from the moon in torrents.« With these words, Arnold Schoenberg’s melodrama ›Pierrot lunaire‹ (1912) begins, a setting of poems by the Belgian poet Albert Giraud – eccentric, fantastical, grotesque. Pierrot is lonely, and the moon is all he has left. In Ensemble Modern’s concert at the Beethovenfest in Bonn on September 21, 2019, Schoenberg’s ›Pierrot lunaire‹ will be combined with the world premiere of Kurt Weill’s and Bertolt Brecht’s ›The Seven Deadly Sins‹ (1933) in a new version for ensemble. Initiated by the Kurt Weill Foundation in New York, this new version by the composer and trombone player Christian Muthspiel and the conductor, composer, chansonnier and »Weillian« HIK Gruber reduces the original instrumentation to 15 players. The vocal parts, dynamics and phrasing remain intact, as do the harmonics and voice-leading of the original score, which may seem simple at first, but are actually highly sophisticated. ›The Seven Deadly Sins‹, which incorporates popular musical styles of the 1920s such as tango, foxtrot and polka, quickly became one of Weill’s most well-known works following its premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The sisters Anna 1 and Anna 2 are driven through seven American metropolises by their family, encountering the temptations of the seven Biblical deadly sins. Gradually they give up their dreams and ideals and finally return, disillusioned, to their family in Louisiana. Only »where the waters of the Mississippi flow beneath the moon«, in Louisiana, does happiness reside. HK Gruber conducts Ensemble Modern; the vocal parts will be sung by the soprano Sarah Maria Sun and the male vocal ensemble amarcord.
Kurt Weill’s ›The Seven Deadly Sins‹
in a New Version at the Beethovenfest in Bonn