Schoenberg on the Beach is a new jazz song cycle based on the early vocal music of Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern for an ensemble of Mary LaRose (voice), Jeff Lederer (woodwinds), Hank Roberts (cello), Patricia Brennan (vibraphone), Michael Formanek (bass), and Matt Wilson (drums).
There is direct inspiration from the sounds of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Hanging Gardens song cycles. Mary LaRose’s highly personal style of vocalization is drawn both from the original sprechstimme approach that Schoenberg intended as well as inspiration from the vocals of jazz great Jeanne Lee. The ensemble music as arranged by Lederer leans heavily into the original material while allowing great improvisational freedom by this inspired group of players in styles ranging from jazz to bossa to metal.
While the songs range in their diverse themes, they are united by a youthful and romantic sense of love, loss, nature and the beach. Lederer has a deeply personal connection to Schoenberg’s music due to the odd fact that Arnold Schoenberg’s own son Lawrence was Lederer’s math teacher in high school — near the beach in California. Lederer draws connections between the original Schoenberg material and the history of Coney Island whose Luna Park opened in 1912, the same year as the premiere of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Interstitial electronic pieces created by turntablist ArkEyE were created for the song cycle using the source material of a recording of sound effects from Coney Island, produced by Orrin Keepnews for the Riverside label in 1957.
The recording of Schoenberg on the Beach will be released on October 6, 2023 on the Little (i) Music label.
A livestream will be available free of charge at 8pm on the day of the performance and archived for future viewing. Watch below or on YouTube.