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Luciano Berio

(1925—2003) Italian composer


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(b Oneglia, now Imperia, It., 1925; d Rome, 2003).

It. composer. In 1955 with Maderna founded EMS at It. Radio, remaining until 1961. Went to USA 1963, teaching in Calif. and from 1965 at Juilliard Sch., returning to It. in 1972. Collab. with Boulez at IRCAM, Paris, 1974–9. Comps. are influenced by serialism, elec. devices, and indeterminacy. Has developed individually the ‘collage’ technique, borrowing extracts from other composers or imitating stylistic characteristics. Examples are Sinfonia, in which Berio quotes material from Mahler's 2nd Sym., Wagner's Das Rheingold, Ravel's La Valse, and Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, and Laborintus II, where street cries and interjections are blended with references to madrigals and to jazz. Another collage is Recital I (for Cathy), one of several works (e.g. Epifanie and Sequenza 3) written for his former wife, the sop. Cathy Berberian. His Sequenza series for various instr. is largely aleatory. In Circles the singer may perform either the notated pitches or the approximations: the choice is hers. While in Milan in his youth Berio cond. a small touring opera co. and has remained enthusiastic about the th., though his works for it have so far been extremely unconventional. In 1986 and 1987 he transcr. 11 of Mahler's early songs for male v. and orch. and he has also re‐worked mus. by Brahms and Schubert. At Salzburg Fest. in 1989 he cond. a prog. of his own works. Wrote ending for Puccini's Turandot (f.p. Los Angeles 2002). Prin. works:

theatre:

Passaggio, messa in scena

for sop., 2 ch., and orch. (1962–3);

Opera

(3 acts), 10 actors, sop., ten., bar., orch. (1960–70, rev. 1977);

Allez Hop

, mimed tale, mez., 8 mimes, dancers, orch. (1952–9, 1968);

I trionfi del Petrarca

, ballet (1974);

La vera storia

, sop., mez., ten., bar., bass, vocal ens., ch., orch. (1977–8);

Un Re in Ascolto

, 2‐act opera (1979–83);

Duo

, bar., 2 vns., ch., orch. (1982);

Naturale

, ballet, va., tam‐tam, vv. (tape) (1985–6).

orch.:

Nones

(1954–5);

Allelujah III

(1955–7), (1956–8);

Divertimento

(collab. Maderna) (1957);

Différences

, 5 instr., tape (1958–9);

Quaderni I–IIIEpifanie

from (1959–63);

Chemins IIB

(1969);

Bewegung I

(1971);

Still

(1973);

Eindrücke

(1973–4);

Encore

(1978);

Entrata

(1980);

Suite da ‘La vera storia’

(1981);

Accordo

, for 4 wind bands (1981);

Fanfara

(1982);

Requies

(1983–4);

Formazioni

(1986);

Continuo

(1989);

Festum

(1989);

Schubert/Berio: Rendering

(1989);

Compass

(1994).

solo instr(s). & orch.:

Concertino

, cl., vn., harp, celesta, str. (1950);

Variazioni

, 2 bassethorns, str. (1954–5);

Serenata

, fl., 14 instr. (1957);

Tempi Concertati

, fl., vn., 2 pf., ens. (1958–9);

Chemins ISequenza II

(from ), hp., orch. (1965);

Chemins IISequenza VI

(from ), va., 9 instr. (1967–8);

Chemins IIIChemins II

(from ), va., orch. (1968–9);

Chemins IIC

, bcl., orch. (1972); 2‐pf. conc. (1972–3);

‘Points on the Curve to Find …’

, pf., 23 instr. (1973–4);

Linea

, 2 pf., vib., marimbaphone (1973–4);

Chemins IVSequenza VII

(from ), ob., str. (1975);

Il Ritorno degli Snovidenia

, vc., 30 instr. (1976–7); pf. conc. (1977);

Corale on Sequenza VIII

, vn., 2 hns., str. (1981);

[...]

Subjects: Music.


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