Because nothing says ‘Happy Friday!’ like . . . the twelve-tone stylings of Alban Berg? (The text is a German translation of Baudelaire, people! It’s serious party music!)
I listened to this twice. (It’s from the DVD of the Salzburg 2011 opening concert.) The first time I was paying more attention to the singing, and the second to the orchestra. That piano part is neat, isn’t it? There were several moments, e.g. around 4.15 and again at 6.50 or so where I paused and went back to hear it again. And the music has some little jazz-like glides, here and there, e.g. in the clarinet part at about 8.44 and right before that (here jazz-like is maybe not quite the right word) in the soprano part at 8.25. There is something about this piece that I find really interesting – after I wrote the foregoing sentences I went back and listened to it again, and I am tempted to go for a fourth, but it’s nearly eleven and my neighbors dislike me enough as it is. The way Röschmann sings this, you feel all the phrases are connected to one another in a really absorbing way – there’s a tension or structure to it that holds the whole thing together, but I can’t put my finger on it more specifically than that right now.
But even though I have not yet worked that out to my satisfaction, conversation about this clip with my fellow historian friend R did lead us to explore some previously unexamined interpretive questions, viz.:
R: How tall do you think she is?
Me: Röschmann? I don’t know. Not very.
R: [contemplatively] Too bad she’s never robbed a convenience store.
R: You know, how up and down the door frames at 7-11 they have that tape measure decal, so that if they need to identify anyone coming or going, they can tell their height from the security camera. Do they have those in Europe?
Me: If you can find video footage of Dorothea Röschmann holding up a convenience store I can pretty much promise you that her height is going to be the least interesting thing about that tape.