A Deadly Pierrot Lunaire @ Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery & a Lively Hans Piltz

Left — Dory Hayley, Photographs — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward right Arnold Schoenberg — self portrait

Vancouver, BC, our “No-Fun-City” has a plethora of activities to interest anybody who is terminally bored. But not for those who are terminally interred. But then…

Who would suspect that the world’s most handsome (and young) standup bassist Mark Haney has been the Composer in Residence of Mountain View Cemetery?

Since he got the job, I believe in 2015, the cemetery has been flushed with life (of the musical kind). Mountain View Cemetery is particularly lively since Haney became the Musical Director of the The Little Chamber Music Series that Could.

I I was there with my friend graphic designer Graham Walker last night at the cemetery’s Celebration Hall for a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds “Pierrot lunaire” which featured soprano Dory Hayley, Sungyong Lim, cello, Corey Hamm, piano, Michelle Goddard (pronounced gawh-dard with emphasis on first syllable), Mark McGregor (many flutes), Rebecca Whittling, violin and viola and Leslie Dala as the conductor. Outside the window of the hall several dancers moved to the music. The work lasted 40 minutes.

It was a special evening for me as I was sitting next to that venerable gentleman, Hans-Viktor Piltz who is now 96. I asked him how he got to the concert. “I drove,” he said. Piltz does not usually leave his home as he is nursing his ailing wife. But he said to me, “I had not seen this work in 40 years so I came.” And he added by asking me, “Do you know German? This work is in German.”

I was amazed to read this article in the Vancouver Province from 2011. It proves that journalism is now in a steep decline as no newspaper would feature such an interesting article based on the circuitous route of retirement!

Because Piltz suffers from arthritis he is unable to play his heavy viola (he also plays the violin). He has a smaller viola. It was in evidence at the concert as Rebecca Whitling (a woman with definite style who eschews owning a viola) borrowed Piltz’s.

Dory Haley ( a bit less crazy since I last photographed her) was wearing a colourful body suit and chose to not wear shoes. Of her performance I asked Piltz, “It must have been a complex work for her. What do you think?” With that twinkle he answered, “I would not know as I don’t sing.

But it was complex as it involved lots of acting. That Pierrot Lunaire is a cabaret piece sort of explains it. From what I gathered it started with a problem that became a more of one but the ending resolved into a pleasant conclusion. For some the music may have been hard to listen to. But since I have weathered many a similar musical situation with friend Walker I found I enjoyed it. Unlike Piltz I will not be around to see and hear it again in 40 years.

What makes all these Vancouver concerts in all venues is that the performers all put on pants, one leg at a time. They are affable and you can always talk to them. Walker and I arrived early, just in time to chat with Leslie Dala who is a treasure of information on very useful musical facts. He told us of Schoenberg’s work, “Stravinsky called Pierrot Lunaire, “the solar plexus as well as the mind of early 20th-century music.” I located this in my NY Times.

Link to: A Deadly Pierrot Lunaire @ Mountain View Cemetery & a Lively Karl Piltz



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Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:http://t.co/yf6BbOIQ alexwh@telus.net