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Berio: The Complete Sequenzas, Alternate Sequenzas & Works for Solo Instruments
     

Berio: The Complete Sequenzas, Alternate Sequenzas & Works for Solo Instruments

 
Despite shifting trends and changing tastes in postmodern era contemporary music, Luciano Berio remains one of the most respected figures among composers active in the last half of the twentieth century. Berio's series of "Sequenzas," however, are viewed as his main contribution to solo instrumental literature, sort of like Hindemith's

Overview

Despite shifting trends and changing tastes in postmodern era contemporary music, Luciano Berio remains one of the most respected figures among composers active in the last half of the twentieth century. Berio's series of "Sequenzas," however, are viewed as his main contribution to solo instrumental literature, sort of like Hindemith's instrumental sonatas except that Berio didn't manage to cover all the bases in terms of instruments. This has led some artists to make adaptations of certain sequenzas for their particular instruments, and Berio cast his blessing upon some of these efforts. All of the original sequenzas, which had arrived at the number 14 by the time Berio died in 2003, plus all approved arrangements and all short, non-pianistic solo works by Berio, appear in Mode's exhaustive Berio: Complete Sequenzas and Solo Works. Students wishing to prepare a Berio sequenza for a recital should stop here first. Although Naxos managed to speed out a similar collection a little ahead of this one, it's really not in the same class with the Mode -- the label spent more than a decade recording this set with artists Berio himself favored. Many of the performances are downright amazing, for example Aki Takahashi's mind-bending performance of the "Sequenza IV for piano" and Kelland Thomas' smoky, soulful reading of "Sequenza IXb for alto saxophone," just to mention a couple. All of the interpretations are first-rate, as is the annotation, photographs and sound, which retains a surprisingly consistent quality from track to track, as this four-disc set was recorded all over the map over a long period of time. Poet Edoardo Sanguinetti reads a short poetic prologue to each sequenza, as sanctioned by the composer, and while the readings, in Italian, are charming and set the scene for each piece in an elegant way, one is grateful that they are presented as separate tracks, so one only need to re-sequence to listen to the music without them. So why does Berio persist in a post-turn-of-the century era where everything created in the last century is subject to review? Because the sequenzas, while fully composed, sound like improvisations and have the quality of flexibility. Expert performers prefer this having such capability over pieces where the effort has gone into the front end, deriving from some strategy that is not in itself worked out in an interesting way. Berio's music has a good chance of retaining currency within the future, and Mode's Berio: Complete Sequenzas and Solo Works represents the gold standard in paving the way for his legacy.

Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle - Joshua Kosman
To hear [these works] all together in these excellent performances is to marvel anew at their wit, their ingenuity and their often acerbic beauty. The performers are a who's who of contemporary performance.... A touching memorial portrait of this lyrical and inventive genius.
Fanfare - Robert Carl
There’s a bounty of imaginative beauty and delight for all who partake of it. Good listening.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/23/2006
Label:
Mode
UPC:
0764593016120
catalogNumber:
161

Tracks

  1. Sequenza Verses, poetry: Incipit
  2. Sequenza Verses, poetry: I. Flute
  3. Sequenza I, for flute
  4. Sequenza Verses, poetry: II. Harp
  5. Sequenza II, for harp
  6. Sequenza Verses, poetry: III. Voice
  7. Sequenza III, for voice
  8. Sequenza Verses, poetry: IV. Piano
  9. Sequenza IV, for piano
  10. Sequenza Verses, poetry: V. Trombone
  11. Sequenza V, for trombone
  12. Sequenza Verses, poetry: VI. Viola
  13. Sequenza VI, for viola
  14. Sequenza Verses, poetry: VII. Oboe
  15. Sequenza VII, for oboe
  16. Sequenza Verses, poetry: VIII. Violin
  17. Sequenza VIII, for violin
  18. Sequenza Verses, poetry: IXa. Clarinet
  19. Sequenza IXa, for clarinet
  20. Sequenza Verses, poetry: IXb. Saxophone
  21. Sequenza VIIb, for soprano saxophone
  22. Sequenza Verses, poetry: X. Trumpet
  23. Sequenza X, for trumpet in C & piano resonance
  24. Sequenza Verses, poetry: XI. Guitar
  25. Sequenza XI, for guitar
  26. Sequenza Verses, poetry: XII. Bassoon
  27. Sequenza XII, for bassoon
  28. Sequenza Verses, poetry: XIII. Accordian
  29. Sequenza XIII, for accordion
  30. Sequenza Verses, poetry: XIV. Cello
  31. Sequenza XIV, for cello
  32. Sequenza VIb, for cello
  33. Sequenza VIIb, for soprano saxophone
  34. Sequenza IXc, for bass clarinet
  35. Sequenza Verses, poetry: XIVb. Double Bass
  36. Sequenza XIVb, for double bass
  37. Rounds, for harpsichord or piano
  38. Gesti, for recorder
  39. Fa-Si, for organ
  40. Les Mots sont allés, for cello
  41. Lied, for clarinet
  42. Comma, for E flat clarinet
  43. Psy, for double bass
  44. Chanson pour Pierre Boulez, for cello
  45. Good Night, for trumpet

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