Treasured Tunes featuring Mark Richardson

Podcast Transcript


Welcome to Treasured Tunes where professors from the East Carolina University School of Music offer commentary about selected musical pieces. Please sit back and enjoy the music.

Mark Richardson Speaking

Hello, I am Mark Richardson and I am a composer here at the ECU School of Music.

I am going to say a few words about the work you are going to hear called Moonscape. It was written in 2001 and premiered at the ECU New Music Festival. I was inspired in writing this work by studying the music and the text of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. I began to think about and contemplate Pierrot’s fascination with the moon and the references made to it throughout the work. Pierrot is a clown figure that Schoenberg was inspired by when writing the work. He often has interactions with moonlight and the moon. In thinking about this work, it rekindled this awe and wonder that I had as a child and I think most Americans shared during the 1960s when we thought about humans exploring space and actually walking on the moon. What we now take as almost commonplace was so new and so mysterious to us. I wanted to revisit that sense of wonder, which I hear in the opening of Pierrot Lunaire. In fact, the motives that I use within Moonscape are derived from the complement and the inversion of Schoenberg’s opening melodic gesture, creating a rising melodic idea throughout that suggests a sense of continual exploration. In addition, the instruments often share beginning and ending tones, following each other in tone-colored melodies. The effect is a sense of a continuous melodic thread with ever-changing timbre. This is achieved by the instrumentalists working together as a team to express melodic continuity and motivic development. In a similar sense, I wanted to build upon the challenge and mysteries of space as we explore the surface of the moon. I hope you enjoy the work.

Music playing composed by Mark Richardson (A selection from Moonscape for flute, clarinet, and cello recorded and premiered at the ECU New Music Festival)

This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit the Treasured Tunes index.