Classical music
Chamber & Recital

Powerful Monodramas: Music of Today

Part of Classical Season 2018/19

These two contemporary works for vocalist and ensemble have connections to Schoenberg's expressionist opera masterpiece, Erwartung.

Hans Zender’s Cabaret Voltaire is named after the raucous Zurich nightclub that became the birthplace of Dada.

Zender, once a student of Stockhausen, sets to music six ‘sound-poems’ by the one of the movement’s founding members, Hugo Ball.

Frenetic rhythms set against gloomy percussion reflect the almost playful darkness of Ball’s wordless texts, written in response to the spread of conflict in World War I.

Phillippe Manoury’s monodrama Blackout is a modern counterpart to Erwartung, written 80 years after Schoenberg’s masterpiece.

The music tells the story of a woman stuck in an elevator, who descends into a waking dream as she gets lost in thought. Like those of Schoenberg, Manoury’s brooding sonorities distort time and expectations – Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘You’re My Thrill’ suddenly emerges at the climax, before breaking apart and fading into the ensemble.

Hear Schoenberg’s original in the Philharmonia’s evening performance at 7.30pm, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.


Players from the Philharmonia Orchestra
Pierre-André Valade conductor
Salome Kammer soprano
Hilary Summers contralto


Hans Zender: Cabaret Voltaire for voice & ensemble (UK premiere)
Philippe Manoury: Blackout monodrama for contralto & ensemble (UK premiere)

Dates & times

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Purcell Room


Free, but ticketed