moment colorés


Faye Chiao

Albert Giraud

Performance forces:
sop — fl, cl, vln, vc, pno



moments colorés was commissioned by The Lunar Ensemble as part of a centennial celebration of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Written for a Pierrot ensemble instrumentation, this work is a setting of four poems from Albert Giraud’s cycle Pierrot lunaire: Rondels bergamasques based on the commedia dell’arte figure of Pierrot.   Each poem in this set draws on connotations from, imagery of, and associations with colors. The first song features black and green, and the last song, white.  Whereas the black is the total absence of light, while white is its full spectrum. White is also the color traditionally associated with the character of Pierrot. The color white ties each poem together in color and character; thus each song was written around a short motif representing white.   1. The first song, Absinthe, draws on the dark colors of green and black, describing drunken images soaked in absinthe.   The start of the piece describes “an immense sea of absinthe” and other drunken images elicited by the proverbial green fairy. Soon, benign images devolve into darker hallucinations; the music grows frenetic and the singer frantically recounts her boat being seized and pulled into the sea. The music returns to calms as she “disappears without complaint.”   2. L’Alphabet (The Alphabet Book) reflects nostalgia for a colorful, children’s alphabet book which become the character’s fondest memories of childhood.   3. Poussière Rose (A Fine dust of Rose) compares the goddess Phoebe to a white rose in the sky, and imagines the mythical character Cassandre fleeing on the ground, brushing against thyme and leaving rose-colored “dew drops.” This song asks the singer to perform sprechstimme, a style of singing approximating speech and recitation.   4. The last poem, Blancheurs Sacreés (A Sacred White), describes the color white, as found in nature, suggesting innocence lost and longed for.   Commissioned by The Lunar Ensemble