Album Review

Luciano Berio “Sinfonia” [Columbia]

cujo   8/20/2012   A Library

Quite possibly _the_ desert island Berio album. All the forces from the 1968 premiere were quickly pressed into the studio: Berio conducting, NY Phil playing, (eight of the) Swingle Singers singing. Berio would later add a 5th movement (and the Swingle Singers would take another stab at recording the augmented work in 1992 under Boulez), which is also why you’ll probably never see this recording reissued.

The first movement features text by your favorite structuralist Levi-Strauss.
The second movement passes MLK’s name around quietly.
The third movement is the true whopper. In the composer’s own notes, it’s not so much composed as it is assembled around fragments of Mahler’s fearsome 2nd symphony, with dozens of other references plain and obscure thrown in (which hordes of musicology postdocs are still tackling as we listen). If you know Mahler’s 2nd at all, it’s hard to listen to this just once.

Three Word Review: More Cow Berio!

-Cujo, KFJC, Aug 2012

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