"Pierrot," written for the extravagantly transgressive tenor Timur Bekbosunov, is a setting of 10 drunkenly hallucinatory texts by another irresistible extravagant, the cultural critic and poet Wayne Koestenbaum.
"I like Wayne," Fairouz said in a video introduction, "because he's highbrow enough for my tastes. But he's quite dirty."
Fairouz and Koestenbaum pay crazy homage to the centenary this year of Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire," which (as with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring") also just turned 100. The ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin and piano is the same that Schoenberg used, and it was nice to have six numbers premiered from Fairouz's "Pierrot" barely more than three miles from where Schoenberg lived in Brentwood.
Of course, this is Schoenberg in company with Virginia Woolf in a funny detox clinic lobby where liquid runs down her leg, perhaps schmaltz. This is Schoenberg as transcribed by Liberace and Edward Said asYiddishkeit. The score is sweet and sour, sophisticated and screwy, sentimental and angry, and oddly spiritual for being able to incorporate all the above.
Bekbosunov was born to be this 21st-century "Pierrot," brilliantly animating every note, expression and transgression.