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Thread: Luciano Berio (1925 – 2003)

  1. #61
    Senior Member PeterFromLA's Avatar
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    A brilliant and inventive composer, one of my favorites. A little known fact about Mr. Berio: he introduced Umberto Eco to semiotics. I recommend the book, Two Interviews, for insights into how the composer thought about music, both his own and that of others.

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    My favorite pieces by Berio:

    1. Circles. Check out the performance featuring his then wife, Cathy Berberian. On Mainstream records.

    2. Sinfonia. The debut recording, featuring the Swingle Singers (without the fifth movement, which was added by the composer after a recommendation that he add a finale, courtesy of the conductor of the premiere: Leonard Bernstein). If you must have the version of the score with the fifth movement included, I recommend Boulez on Erato.

    3. Recital I (for Cathy): Cathy Berberian's RCA recording of her tour of the literature for soprano, as heard through the mind of a performer slowly going mad.

    4. Sequenza III. The text for this piece is brilliantly composed. The dramaturgy of the work is notable (e.g., the solo soprano walks in, muttering to herself: the piece has begun).

    5. Concerto for Two Pianos. The Labeque sisters performed this one for RCA, under the composer

    6. Laborintus II. The composer's version is the one to get; the text was written by the Italian poet, Edoardo Sanguineti. He can be heard in the narrator's voice in the composer's recording.

    7. Voci (Folk Songs II), for viola, chamber ensemble, and featuring percussion. Kim Kashkashian on ECM. Another essential Berio piece.

    8. Thema (Omaggio a Joyce): Another work testifying to the rich relationship between Berio and Berberian. In this piece she records one of the classics of elector-acoustic music, featuring her reading of passages from Joyce's Ulysses.

    9. Sequenza VI for Viola, one of the more startling of the sequenza works. I like Walter Trampler's version.

    10. Epifanie: Berio's great work for orchestra and female voice. Again, try to find the version featuring Berberian.

    Berio's music is very Italian in two senses: it's dramatic and it's lyrical. The lyricism is not obvious, but it is definitely there.
    Last edited by PeterFromLA; Dec-30-2015 at 01:40.

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  3. #62
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Berio: Points On The Curve To Find, for piano and 23 instruments (1974). PeterFromLA is right, of course; try to find the Cathy Barbarian versions.

    Here she is on Folk Songs, also directed by Berio himself. Also contains Laborintus II.

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    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jun-24-2019 at 19:23.
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  5. #63
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Reading through this thread after having listened to some works by Luciano Berio for the first time, I think, in my life. I picked up the Philips "Silver Line Classics" disc with various Berio pieces including: Différences, Sequenza III and VII, Due Pezzi, and one called "Chamber Music". Cathy Berberian is mesmerizing on Sequenza III; it was written for her, no?

    I wonder if Steely Dan had that piece in mind when they wrote "Your Gold Teeth": "Even Cathy Berberian knows there's one roulade she can't sing.

    Anyway, I think his music is the last word in avant-garde. Forget Boulez, Stockhausen etc, let alone anything like Schoenberg, Webern etc. It's all child's play compared to Berio. Of course, this is probably just the novelty of his music speaking, and maybe it's really not all that far out there. I respect him for how much he pushed the envelope.

  6. #64
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    The sequenzas are very good, well worth exploring IMO, even the later ones.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-23-2019 at 13:07.

  7. #65
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    There is also Corale, a sort of “episode 2” of Sequenza viii. I don’t know if there are any other examples like this.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-23-2019 at 14:58.

  8. #66
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Is there any album out there, a collab between many soloists, that compiles all of the Sequenzas on one (or two, or however many it takes) disc?

  9. #67
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    There are at least three, one on Naxos, one with ensemble Intercomporaine, and this which may well be the one to get, whether you can understand Italian or not -- Italian spoken sounds like music anyway!


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    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-23-2019 at 18:26.

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