Feb 25, 2009

Clown Performance, II

I am in love with “Rabbit’s Moon,” a thirteen minute short film by Kenneth Anger in 1950, which you can watch in two parts on YouTube or Netflix it. It stars actors from Marcel Marceau’s mime school in Paris as Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbine performing classic Commedia antics inside a perfectly dreamy world - magical forest with silvery threads hanging from the branches of its spindly trees. The title is derived from a Japanese fairy tale (that I must check out) involving the Rabbit in the Moon - apparently what to the Western hemisphere looks like a “Man” in the Moon appears to the Eastern hemisphere as a “Rabbit.” I would love to see a live version of this.

Look at that amazing tufting behind Columbine!

I was reminded by Anger’s commentary on the disc of an excellent concert I saw at a London church in 2006 that featured as its third act Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, performed by a quartet with a vocal accompaniment. The "narrator" sings twenty-one poems from Otto Erich Hartleben's German translation of Albert Giraud's original cycle of (French) poems of the same name. The poems are performed in "Sprechstimme," a melodramatic recitation style somewhere between speech and song that creates a spectacularly expressionistic mood to go with the the atonal piece, which follows a narrative of Pierrot's moonstruck adventures. Apparently Bjork performed the piece in 1996 - that would have been something to see!

1 comment:

mem said...

Bjork actually refused to have her performance recorded. But you can hear David Bowie's setting of these pierrot's in turquoise...