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Cheap Imitation: Schoenberg Pierrot Lunaire, 2005


for solo voice and ensemble: clarinet (also flute), bass clarinet, trumpet, tuba, violin, violoncello, double-bass, piano, percussion; 21 min;
commissioned by Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, Austria
premiered at Konzerthaus Wien, Wiener Festwochen June 9, 2005

released on CD 2007

Schönberg over-defined his Pierrot Lunaire: Friedl's Schönberg Pierrot Lunaire Cheap Imitation showed that the 21 short Songs of the cycle can be reduced to their gestural elements without any significant loss! Schönberg's own children (including Nono's widow Nuria Schönberg) listened to Reinhold Friedl's cheap imitation and threatened him with an injunction suit: Friedl's cheap imitation was said to be too close to the original. The composer's kids couldn't even hear a significant difference. As they have not been able to substantiate one stolen note from Schönberg's original either, the proove is complete: Schönberg could have reduced Pierrot Lunaire to some simple gestural models (see photo) to get almost the same musical result.

As a consequence of this discovery, Friedl proposed a new experience based analytical method for Schönberg's work: Cheap imitations of given ouvres could help to figure out more precisely the significant musical parameters. Unfortunately the Arnold Schönberg Center did not embrace the proposal to present this promising idea in one of their symposia.