Luciano Berio was one of the greatest and most innovative composers for the voice of the post-war generation - moving it into previously unknown territories, yet with an innately literate sense of song.
First released to honor Berio's 70th birthday in 1995, this CD met great critical acclaim and was among Mode's top selling releases.
His association with the legendary mezzo-soprano Cathy Berberian led to the creation of all but one of the works recorded on this CD - a selection of his greatest vocal compositions collected on one disc for the first time.
Added to this reissue is the first recording of Quattro Canzoni Popolari, four arrangements of Italian folk songs which hark back to late medieval Sicilian and Genovese texts and tunes. Three of the songs date from his early twenties as a student. Two songs were later rearranged for his Folk Songs. And in 1973, another song, Avendo gran disìo, was added to this set.
The recital begins with Berio's magical, wry Folk Songs. One of his most popular works based on tunes from America, France, Italy, Sicily and Azerbaijan, their folk veneer covers many musical surprises, including hints of minimalism.
Sequenza III for solo voice is a tour-de-force for a singing actress, covering all ranges of human emotion in a virtuoso vocal display.
James Joyce wrote his Chamber Music poems with the intention that they be sung. Set by Berio in his early 20s, their sophistication belie the composer's age.
O King was written in memoriam to Dr. Martin Luther King - an extremely moving work based on the syllables of Dr. King's name. Berio later reorchestrated this into a movement fot his Sinfonia.
Circles was one of the landmark works of the 1960s. Ingeniously scored for singer with harp and two percussionists (playing an enormous battery of over 80 instruments). Circles' unique sound is unlike anything heard before or since - providing the perfect foil to the text by e.e. cummings.
Expanded liner notes by Mark Swed and Sabine Feisst.
Luciano Berio (1925 - 2003)