Here’s a programming thought for the 2015 season:

Try a special “Ode to Napoleon”.


1. It’s 2015: the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo

2. “Ode to Napoleon” is one of Arnold Schönberg’s most powerful, personal and accessible works

3. David Moss, a unique vocalist performs “Ode…” in a new way for the 21st century

Moss has performed “Ode to Napoleon” in both string-quartet version without conductor, and in the string orchestra version with conductor; he has performed with string quartets of the Berlin Philharmonic and Ensemble Resonanz; and with the string orchestras of Ensemble Resonanz, the Munich Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Resonanz, and Orchestra de Cadaques; with conductors Alejandro Posada, Alexander Liebreich, Peter Rundel; and star new-music pianists, Stefan Litwin and Nicolas Hodges.

David talks about performing “Ode…”:

“Truthfully, it’s such an incredibly emotional and human piece — it’s a gorgeous joy to speak/perform the narrator part. It always seemed to me that Schönberg wanted, needed, a special voice for his “Sprechstimme” parts — a non-operatic yet passionate voice; theatricality without melodrama; a singing/speaking experience not available in other music.

In early research before I first performed it, I found that Schönberg said this about Ode: “In contrast to Pierrot Lunaire, the recitation must be as realistically natural as if there were no music at all”. And then, the only time he ever heard the work “live” (at a rehearsal just before a concert honouring his 75th birthday) he emphasized the dramatic and expressive values of the text.

I believe my personal virtuosity and use of the voice (i.e rhythmic sharpness, hyper- realism, full control of 4 octaves in all dynamics) helps to deliver an “Ode to Napoleon” like we’ve always imagined, but never heard.

More thoughts on programming this piece, and information about the performance can be obtained by contacting me at through or by leaving a comment here, thanks.