Sequenzas I - XIII &
Luisa Castelllani (soprano)
Gabrielle Cassone (trumpet) Eliot Fisk (guitar) Teodoro Anzellotti (accordion)
and members of Ensemble
DG 457 038-2
Recorded in 1994-97 and released in 1998, this complete collection of
Luciano Berio's famous works for solo instruments has won universal
accolades, fully deserved. The series began in 1958 with No I
for flute and they became increasingly well known with Nos III
for his wife Cathy Berberian and V (in memory of Grock) for trombone,
each of those two 'a theatre of vocal and instrumental gestures'.
They made a huge initial impact and have spurred a whole literature of
avant-garde instrumental music for solo instruments, regularly included in
recitals, e.g. by the Park Lane Group's Young Artists each January.
One welcomed each as it emerged through the years, just as one had every
new work by Britten during his lifetime.
Berio's aim was to develop a harmonic discourse with monodic instruments,
and to explore the technical possibilities inherent in each instrument and
the voice. All demand virtuosity, often of completely new types. The instruments
become 'a means of research and expression' and many were composed in
collaboration with musicians 'of sensibility and intelligence'. Berio was
keen not to go against the 'nature' of each instrument, but he often unveiled
possibilities little considered beforehand. The performances are all
authoritative and ideally suited to home listening, a few at a time. The
most recent are given by their dedicatees, guitarist Eliot Fisk No.
XI (1988), Pascal Gallois, bassoon, No XII &
Teodoro Anzellotti, (saxophone) - both world first recordings.
It is supported with texts by Sanguineti and essays by the composer, who
was no doubt in close attendance at the sessions for this first complete
recording of his Sequenzas at IRCAM in Paris.
Peter Grahame Woolf