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Friday, December 16, 2011

‘Three Pianos’ Parties With Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’

At a Valentine’s Day party several years ago, three friends — Rick Burkhardt, Alec Duff, and Dave Malloy — discovered a shared love for Austrian composer Franz Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise.”

As they played the music, drank and debated, an idea was born: to create a theater piece that incorporates Schubert’s music.

The result is “Three Pianos,” and it takes place both in Schubert’s time and today, at an all-night party where pianos are not only played but used as props– they’re sat on, spun in circles, used as a bar and a bed. Even the audience gets to drink wine and take part.

The Village Voice describes the show as “like being cozily tucked away with a clutch of nerdy music-loving friends.”

“Three Pianos” won an Obie in New York and is currently playing at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge Massachusetts. Here & Now‘s Robin Young met with all three performers there. They told her that the show is a recreation of something called a “Schubertiad,” a type of party that Schubert held with poets and composers where they would make art.


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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