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Friday, December 16, 2011

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

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Dave Malloy, Alec Duffy, Rick Burkhardt at the ART's Three Pianos. (Ryan Jensen)Dave Malloy, Alec Duffy, Rick Burkhardt. (Joan Marcus)(From left) Dave Malloy, Alec Duffy, Rick Burkhardt. (Ryan Jensen)(From left) Rick Burkhardt, Dave Malloy, Alec Duffy. (Ryan Jensen)

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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