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Luciano Berio - Laborintus II, First Part (1/2)

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Published on Jan 28, 2011

Laborintus II, for 3 voices, 8 actors, speaker, ensemble & tape (1963-1965)

Christiane Legrand, soprano
Janette Baucomont, soprano
Claudine Meunier, contralto
Edoardo Sanguineti, speaker

Ensemble Musique Vivante
Luciano Berio

The relationship between text and music has always been the central point in Berio's work. Laborintus II, composed between 1963 and 1965 on a commission from ORTF (Office de Radio et Television Francaise) to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante's birth, is based upon the poem "Laborintus" by Edoardo Sanguineti, in which some themes from Dante's Vita Nova, Convivio and Divina Commedia are developed. This is again combined, according with formal and semantic analogies, with excerpts from the Bible and with texts from Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.

One of the main Dantesque "theme" is the catalogue, and the music itself is a sort of catalogue of different styles from Monteverdi to jazz and electronic music. Vocal action is the supporting structure (human voice is always present, in different forms and functions, through the work), the instrumental parts are to be considered like an extension of the voices and the short electronic parts are an extension of the instrumental music. Even the intelligibility (or not) of the text is a part of this structure.

According to the composer, Laborintus II is a work that can be treated like a document, a story or for dance, and can be performed everywhere is possible to join together an audience, so there is no limit to perform it in a school, or in a theatre, or in television. [Allmusic.com]

Art by Vicky Neumann

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