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Virtuosic and intense works for solo instruments including voice , they make for compelling though not easy listening. But they seem to be heading toward a kind of monumental memorialization, like that of Beethoven's piano sonatas or the preludes and fugues of Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier. Three years after Berio's death, two complete recordings of the "Sequenzas" — 14 works with variants , written over nearly five decades — have come onto the market: one, on four CD's, from the independent label Mode; the other, on three CD's, from the budget label Naxos.
They join a set that has been considered definitive, a recording by members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, released by Deutsche Grammophon in But the new ones have at least one clear advantage: the final "Sequenza," for cello, which Berio wrote only in Disparate as they are, the "Sequenzas" have things in common. One is a kind of self-consciousness about the act of creating music in the specific language of a given instrument, often with reference to specifics of the instrument's history and performance.
Many of the pieces proceed from a note or two, starting with defiant, repeated statements of a tone like the Eighth, for violin or winding their way around a sustained sound from without like the 10th, for trumpet and piano resonance.
Berio's concept of the term "sequenza" was that each piece would derive from a sequence of harmonic fields, a derivation that can clearly be heard. Yet whether they assail like the Sixth, for viola, which opens with a figurative grabbing of the listener's lapel or lull like the melodious Ninth, for clarinet , the pieces tend to follow a similar dramatic arc through spasms of activity back into quiet resignation.
Berio wrings this drama from each instrument with a formidable range of technical means: special tonguings or bowings or beatings on the soundboard and, often, sounds that carry the performer to the brink of speech. The Fifth, for trombone, which casts the player as a lugubrious clown, puts in his or her mouth a summarizing word, "Why?
And since each piece rises and falls on individual performance, it is difficult to judge them as a group. The Mode set, to be sure, offers a sense of having been officially sanctioned. The project took shape after performances at the 92nd Street Y of all the "Sequenzas" then 13 for Berio's 70th birthday in Berio guided the choices of performers, and two of them Stuart Dempster, the trombonist, and Rohan de Saram, the cellist are the original dedicatees of the works for their instruments.
This set also aspires to be definitive, collecting every alternative version of each piece the Sixth rearranged for cello, the Ninth for alto saxophone as well as Berio's other works for solo instruments, like "Gesti" for recorder and "Psy" for double bass, which one might term "Sequenzas Lite. The measure of a performer's success lies in the difference between merely executing the notes and internalizing them.
There is no single right approach. Dempster, not surprisingly, brings out a prodigious level of articulate nuance in "his" trombone "Sequenza.
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Luciano Berio: Sequenza XIV
Sequenza Italian for "sequence" is the name borne by fourteen compositions for solo instruments or voice by Luciano Berio. Conversely, Sequenza IX grew out of a piece for clarinet and electronics later withdrawn , originally known as Chemins V ; NB it is not the same as the work with the same title which originates from Sequenza XI. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article does not cite any sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Luciano Berio.
Luciano Berio's 'Sequenzas' Are Recorded by Two Labels