Pierrot lunaire

From Wind Repertory Project
Arnold Schenberg

Arnold Schoenberg

This work bears the designation Opus 21.

General Info

Year: 1912 / 1914
Duration: c. 40:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Universal Edition
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Rental   |   Score Only (print) - €42.50

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


1. Mondestrunken
2. Columbine
3. Der Dandy
4. Eine blasse Wäscherin
5. Valse de Chopin
6. Madonna
7. Der kranke Mond
8. Nacht (Passacaglia)
9. Gebet an Pierrot
10. Raub
11. Rote Messe
12. Galgenlied
13. Enthauptung
14. Die Kreuze
15. Heimweh
16. Gemeinheit!
17. Parodie
18. Der Mondfleck 19. Serenade
20. Heimfahrt (Barcarole)
21. O alter Duft


Full Score
C Piccolo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet

Solo Voice


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

“Read the preface, looked at the poems, am delighted. Brilliant idea, just my kind of thing,” noted Arnold Schönberg in his diary, after hearing of the actress Albertine Zehme’s plans to set Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire to music. Originally, Zehme had been thinking of a work for a spoken voice with a piano accompaniment, but Schönberg did not want his composer’s imagination to be limited by this. Zehme, who commissioned the piece, agreed, and each of the 21 miniatures was given its own sound colour by the instruments employed: flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello. The world première in 1912 apparently required 25 rehearsals.

- Program Note from publisher

Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire ("Three times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud's 'Pierrot lunaire'"), commonly known simply as Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 ("Moonstruck Pierrot" or "Pierrot in the Moonlight"), is a melodrama by Arnold Schoenberg. It is a setting of 21 selected poems from Albert Giraud's cycle of the same name as translated to German by Otto Erich Hartleben.

The work is written for reciter (voice-type unspecified in the score, but traditionally performed by a soprano) who delivers the poems in the sprechstimme style accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. Schoenberg had previously used a combination of spoken text with instrumental accompaniment, called "melodrama", in the summer-wind narrative of the Gurre-Lieder, which was a fashionable musical style popular at the end of the nineteenth century. Though the music is atonal, it does not use Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, which he did not first use until 1921.

Pierrot lunaire is among Schoenberg's most celebrated and frequently performed works. Its instrumentation – flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano with standard doublings and in this case with the addition of a vocalist – is an important ensemble in 20th- and 21st-century classical music and is referred to as a Pierrot ensemble.

The piece was premiered at the Berlin Choralion-Saal on October 16, 1912, with Albertine Zehme as the vocalist. A typical performance lasts about 35 to 40 minutes.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer