Berio: Orchestral Transcriptions

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
It's a rare CD that offers such fascinating insights into a composer's mind as this one. Throughout his career, Luciano Berio has engaged in experimental reworkings, arrangements, and literally rearrangements of music by other composers, especially fragments and unfinished works, with their particularly poetic and poignant qualities. Conductor Riccardo Chailly's program here features six of Berio's transcriptions, following the chronological order of the original composers: Purcell, Bach, Boccherini, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. Clearly, Berio wasn't afraid to take on some of the biggest names in music history. The Purcell, a "modification" of a "famous hornpipe" to ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
It's a rare CD that offers such fascinating insights into a composer's mind as this one. Throughout his career, Luciano Berio has engaged in experimental reworkings, arrangements, and literally rearrangements of music by other composers, especially fragments and unfinished works, with their particularly poetic and poignant qualities. Conductor Riccardo Chailly's program here features six of Berio's transcriptions, following the chronological order of the original composers: Purcell, Bach, Boccherini, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms. Clearly, Berio wasn't afraid to take on some of the biggest names in music history. The Purcell, a "modification" of a "famous hornpipe" to excerpt the lengthy title, is a witty curtain raiser, and Berio's humor also finds an outlet with Boccherini, where multiple versions of a single work are superimposed. In the brief Mozart homage, Berio views an aria from The Magic Flute through a kaleidoscope; the original can't be recognized, but you can sense the classical provenance in the background. Berio's orchestration of Brahms's First Clarinet Sonata is the most straightforward arrangement here, imitating the richly sonorous orchestral style of Brahms himself with convincing grandeur; in effect, it's a major addition to the clarinet concerto repertoire. But the real highlights are Berio's completions of two fragmentary works: Bach's Contrapunctus XIX from The Art of the Fugue -- beautiful throughout, but unforgettably haunting in the conclusion after Bach's music breaks off -- and Rendering, his treatment of Schubert's sketches for a Tenth Symphony. Schubert's lyrical inspirations are joined together by Berio's own magical music, where a rippling celesta signals the absence of Schubert's unwritten strains. While this disc should appeal widely to classical music lovers, Berio fans will be thrilled by the superb performances and several world-premiere recordings. All told, this is one of the exceptional releases of 2005.
All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
A leader of the avant-garde, most celebrated for his groundbreaking "Sinfonia" 1968, Luciano Berio is presented in a much different light on this album of his appealing orchestrations of Baroque and Classical works, vividly performed by Riccardo Chailly and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi. These colorful transcriptions and reworkings of pieces and fragments by Purcell, Bach, Boccherini, Mozart, Schubert, and Brahms will, in most cases, attract listeners for their surprising accessibility and clarity. Most interesting and gratifying is Berio's concerto arrangement of Brahms' "Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 120," which clarinetist Fausto Ghiazza performs with suppleness and nuanced expression. Berio's arrangement is quite Brahmsian in its rich Romantic timbres and layered doublings of sections. Yet there are some experimental explorations, such as the "Variations on Papageno's Aria," which, in its weird fragmentation, amounts to a theoretical analysis of Mozart's theme; and the strange breakdowns of harmony and melody that occur at the end of Bach's unfinished "Contrapunctus XIX" from The Art of the Fugue and the "Rendering" of Schubert's sketches for his last symphony in D major illustrate their incompleteness most strikingly. How seriously anyone should take Berio's transcriptions is open to debate, but they offer fascinating glimpses into his probing intellect and show him as one of the most imaginative composers of the mid-twentieth century.
New York Times - Bernard Holland
Berio the transcriber is at his most moving when he presents ruins. The unfinished Contrapunctus XIX at the end of Bach's "Art of Fugue," rather than dropping off where Bach stopped writing, fades into a kind of healing mist of the transcriber's making.
New York Times - James R. Oestreich
A sheer delight.

Berio the transcriber is at his most moving when he presents ruins. The unfinished Contrapunctus XIX at the end of Bach's "Art of Fugue," rather than dropping off where Bach stopped writing, fades into a kind of healing mist of the transcriber's making.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/26/2005
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947628309
  • Catalog Number: 000482902
  • Sales rank: 163,045

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Riccardo Chailly Primary Artist
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