Guide for Tape 6

Contemporary Era



TAPE 6 Contemporary Era (Europe)

[Handwritten in red ink : The tapes cover to c. 1970 (tape 14 was going to be the last years of Dallapiccola including his opera Ulisse but I “ran out of gas”)]

1) First and third (of 4) songs of the 1948 Dallapiccola “Quattro Liriche di Antonio Machado.” “The spring has come. Snow-white hymns of bramble bushes in flower”. “Sir, already you have torn from me what was most dear. Listen another time, my God, my heart cries (out). Your wish is done, Sire, against mine, Sir, now we are alone my heart and the sea.”   [listen]


2) First half of the sixth piece from the piano work “Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera” (1952) immediately followed by the opening (using the same material) of the “Canti di Liberazione” (1952-1955). The text is taken from a letter written to a friend by S. Castellio from Basle on July 1, 1555 emphasizing faith in God; the music contains a few canons, mirrors to be exact. Almost immediately following is the opening of this work’s second movement (the text is from Exodus explaining that God destroyed Pharaoh’s army—they sank into the depths of the Red Sea—evil has been put to flight by God) and the voices are in rhythmic canon; then immediately you’ll hear two excerpts from near the end of this movement, “God is a man of war…” We’ve had from Dallapiccola the “Songs of the Prison” (the prisoners) then, “The Prisoner” and now “Songs of Liberation.”   [listen]

3) Dallapiccola’s “Goethe Lieder” (1953) display the canon to its utmost. The text and music are fully integrated. You hear part of the first: “In countless forms though you may hide from sight I’ll know you best beloved, all the same…” (two levels here: the sexual-soul, and the 12-tone row); all of the second: “The sun comes up! Ah, splendid sight! The crescent moon embraces her. What power could such a pair unite? The riddle, who can solve it, who? (The voice sings a melodic line, then sings it backwards; the clarinet plays that same melodic line, up to the point where the voice goes backwards hence the “embrace”); the third at the beginning: “Let not your sweet ruby mouth condemn my hot and eager suit…” (hear the clarinet in imitation. Clarinet’s rhythm twice the length of the voice); fourth song skipped; opening of the fifth shows a mirror (upside down) between voice and clarinet with the text: “The mirror tells me that I’m fair…” None of the sixth (it is “dark”); all of seven: “Is it possible my love that I possess you. Hear the ringing of a Godlike voice? Beyond my grasp forever seems the rose, the nightingale beyond conception.” (“Is it possible?”) Four part rhythmic canon: they are all anxious for one another hence the rhythmic relations.   [listen]


4) 1948 in Paris: first experimentations in musique concrete. The examples are announced either after or before they are heard. First one: Pierre Schaeffer’s “Etude aux chemins de fer” (only tiny or short ex. are heard from these works); then two more excepts by Schaeffer (coin on drum & train, etc. (announced); then an excerpt by Pierre Henry 1949 (announced afterwards); then the opening and ending of the “Prelude to Orpheus” by both composers (1951); then a very minute compendium covering the “opera” concrete “Orpheus 1953” (you might recognize certain references to the myth and/or to later works written by others on the same theme). First performed at Donaueschingen Oct. 1953.   [listen]


5) Early examples (excerpts) of electronic music written by Boulez (“Etude N. 2”), Stockhausen (“Study N. 1” 1953. First work based on sinus-tones: sounds without overtones), and again Stockhausen (“Studie N. 2”, early 1954 and used synthetically produced noises.)   [listen]


6) Luigi Nono: first, three short excerpts form an early work from 1951, “Polifonica-Monodia-Ritmica,” showing that NONO already had the necessity to formal strictness in order to control a strong will to expression and a passionate nature akin almost to monomania (and almost always successful when set ablaze by a text that has much to do with his ideas of justice). You first hear 11 bars: These are divided four (into 12) by: a five-eight bar with cymbals struck on beats 2 and 4, another five-eight bar with the same on 3 and 5, the third bar silent (bar of two-eighth notes): then the same scheme is repeated but instead of cymbals, you hear 4 instruments (but at the same time, you hear the cymbals on beats 1, 5, 2, and 1). Then the measures begin to fill in but with the same ordering of the meter (5 + 5 + 2). Actually, there are metrical shifts which make Nono’s method somewhat synthetic (rhythm and met re are handled independently from one another) and you probably don’t begin to hear the 5 + 5 + 2 met re until bar nine. But notice after the two beats of silence (third bar) the following 2 beats of silence (third bar) the following 2 beats of sound, 1 silent, then 2 + 1, 2 + 1, & 2 + 1. Pitches are “controlled” as well. The other two tiny excerpts from this work show how Nono build this sound “drama” (second excerpt contains constant notes on all eighth notes and in the third, you begin to hear quicker notes and more than one note at a time). Ex. from the first move.   [listen]


7) You then hear the Italian announcer say: Luigi Nono “Composition Number I for Orchestra.” Actually, this is a work written a few years later than the following works. It was added next in this tape to show the similarity between this and the previous work. Two tiny excerpts are heard.   [listen]


8) “Due Espressioni” from 1953 by Nono. In the third ex. notice how the lines seem to converge on each other giving minute (mostly minor seconds) conflict between pitches. The fourth ex. attempts to make conflict by opposing pitch aggregates. Early attempts by Nono to write strong music. Still strangely not “together” but very talented and with specific character. (Nono has an individual “ear” and personality).   [listen]


9) Six excerpts from another instrumental work, the second part of a work based and inspired by the life and myth of Garcia Lorca (a poet who in many ways became a symbol for injustice and freedom in Europe particularly after World War 2 and into the fifties): “Y su sangre ya viene cantando” (“and not [sic] his blood comes singing…”) a line from the long lament written for the bull fighter, Ignacio Sanchez Mejicas, a poem that might symbolize that recent history of Spain which drew so much blood… Notice how those notes come…/ 1953.   [listen]


10) After a very short silence, you’ll hear three excerpts form the third part of this Lorca “Epitaph” (“Romance de la Guardia Civil Espanola”). Notice how the text somehow heightens the music although this is still somewhat in a simple and “unsophisticated” state. 1953-54. (Certain “formalities” are now becoming apparent: notice the humming at the end, a sign that Nono’s feeling sometimes gets the upper hand although this might not always be a sign of creative weakness.)   [listen]


11) If you’ll forgive the radio signal interference (taped in Florence many years ago) You can hear the end of the 1954 work by Nono, “La Victoire de Guernica” (from the poem by the fine French poet Paul Eluard). That “weakness” is again developed (the rest of the work is more abstract and less prone to lack of balance.)   [listen]


12) Now, Luciano Berio in 1952-53, the “Cinque Variazioni” (as announced): You hear the opening (the harmonic phrases are very much in style apropos [sic] the 50’s) and then the last bar of the fourth variation then a fermata and into the fifth which then has within the texture a quote from Dallapiccola’s opera, the “fratello” phrase. This is a very early Berio and not yet showing a more developed Berio (personality).   [listen]   


13) “Nones” by Berio was probably his first work to achieve some of the character that seemingly has remained to the present day. There are 3 ex. from this orchestral work on the tape (the live performance is not an ideal one): the opening, up to bar 29 (to where the octaves appear: the work is based on a 13 note row that is symmetrical, i.e., the 7th note, being in the center, divides two six note portions with the second six being the retrograde inversion of the first six; because of this extra note, one must occur twice: this idea is fulfilled by making one of the central aspects of the score the octave and this sound is set up in opposition to the vertical use of the chromatic total); then in the second ex. where one hears the climatic saturation of the orchestral register (influenced by “white noise”—Berio helped form an electronic studio in Milan around the time of writing this score)—the octaves once again reappear, and the last ex. from near the end to the end (the metronome markings show a gradual quickening but this increase in speed is linked with a minimum of sounds).   [listen]   


14) Bruno Maderna’s “Serenata” (for 11 instruments) 1954 (revised in ’57). There are 8 ex. The opening has a long melodic line—cantablile-like. This opening leads in a rhythmic movement typical of an Italian serenade. Much of the character (or style) is based on the instrumental figures typical of the Mandoline (note-repetition). You’ll hear some kind of return of that opening meaning that Maderna at this point in his work was not against simple forms such as ABA not was he the cosmopolitan found all over and at Darmstadt.   [listen]   


15) Maderna’s “String Quartet in Two Tempi” 1955. Two excerpts: first 25 bars and the last 25 bars (the second movement is the first movement backwards, although the dynamics, placing the actual pitches, modes of attacking those notes—particularly the longer notes—are varied in many instances). You can hear the mirrored relation (excuse the occasional static, etc.). This work has been freed from the more apparent ABA form of the “Serenata” although geometric properties are to be found in previous musical forms.   [listen]


16) Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1952-3 to 1960. There are ex. from seven different works. All but the second (although the second is actually from different pieces) are introduced and talked about by Stockhausen (in this interview). First work is from “Kontra-punkte” involving “point form” (his words); second work is 3 ex. form a second group of piano pieces written after the Klavierstücke 1-4 (1954), around 1956, and added to this tape in order to demonstrate absolute pitch obsession (there is hardly a break between ex. 1 and 2) and spliced with silences; Stockhausen then talks a great deal about the “point form” in “Kontra-punkte” and gets involved in his idea of “group form” and this leads to “Gruppen for Three Orchestra,” 1955-7. You’ll hear three excerpts from this work (my choices, not KHS), the first from the beginning and to figure 5 in the score: the first orchestra begins it all and around 10 _ seconds begins the second orchestra but quickly following (about 15 seconds from the beginning) the third orch. Is superimposed on to the second (the first is silent from where the second begins). Of course in a hall with each orchestra well placed, one could hear the different orchestras from three different positions. If the internal differences are real, that is another question (stereo has arrived not long before). Same goes in excerpts two and three. Work 4 is from the latter part of “Gesang der Jünglinge” 1956 and involves “statistical form” (“complex”); Work 5 is “Zeitmasse” involving determinant and indeterminate methods (“variable form”); Work 6 is “Zyklus” 1959 a work involving a number of possible solutions (see Piano Piece XI later on—also works by Boulez amongst many others) but “all equal”; Work 7 is “Carré” 1960 concerned with “moment form” (every instance or musical event has same importance and is conceived from an absolute point of view—each event is not related to any other—they don’t add up to a unity but each event is the only unity…) and seems to present the beginning of a style that is only more-or-less just sound (possibly only involving two human attitudes, thinking and sensation, leaving out feeling and intuition).   [listen]   


17) An excerpt from a long work by Jean Barraqué (the 1952 “Piano Sonata”). Notice the circular pitch repetition and rhythmic patterns.   [listen]   


18) Varèse and his “Deserts” (1954): concrete and electronic sounds at first and leading into instruments playing on stage (notice the wonderful harmonious relation between the two sound sources).   [listen]   

19) “Le Marteau sans Maître” (René Char poem written in 1934) by Boulez (1953, revised in 1957). First excerpt: opening 10 bars of movement one (moving very quickly and all the notes are sometimes difficult to hear; second ex: first 7 bars from the second move The third ex. immediately follows and this one involves the poetry. “the red caravan at the edge of the prison”. Particularly the “du clou” where the melisma is long (the whole of the second phrase), one can still hear the words clearly (i.e., the syntax of the poetry, the natural syntactic logic and flow of the poetry, this Boulez keeps even if he treats and sets the original Char words and lines in four types or categories which will be heard below). Fourth ex. contains the first 8 bars of move. four (many starts and stops all within different tempi). Fifth ex. is from the fifth move. from the upbeat of bar 14 where the voice sings, “I hear walking in my legs/ the dead sea waves over my head”. Boulez does some literal treatment of the words like: “I” (Je) is somewhat alone and isolated; “hear” (ecoute) has with it timbre that makes one listen, “walking” (the flute, guitar, and viola have six rhythmically evenly decelerated five note chords, then three four note chords returning to the original tempo); the “clou” in ex. 3 is also symbolic (the 12th note is at the end—edge—of the row). Boulez attempts to preserve Char’s original text although he interprets or exploits the different levels naturally inherent (Notice the instrumental timbre in relation to the French text, the sound relations). Excerpt six is from the ninth movement and where the same poem used in Move. five is set: this time the words are quasi parlando (somewhat in a speaking manner), up to the word “morte” (somewhat like a cry and a glissando); then a normal tone for “vagues,” and then a quietly fading sprechgesang for “-ques par-dessus tête.” Ex. six continues by showing other ways of interpreting or setting the text: 6b (mouth closed); 6c (talking “Enfant la jetée—promenade sauvage”: “head-tones” as Boulez describes what he wants in the score: “des yeux pures” (“Pure eyes in the woods seek, weeping, a head to line in”); lastly, a melismatic (actually only on the first syllable) “habitable” (this treatment with the grace note occurring after the long tone, at the edge so-to-speak, is a Boulez characteristic in the “Pli selon Pli” begun during his revision of this work). This work contains 9 pieces and the vocal movements are surrounded by instrumental movements, and he groups the movements around the vocal ones by using the words “avant” “après” and “commentaire” before the actual title of each poem (3 poems in all).   [listen]


20) Pousseur in 1955. A good excerpt from one of the seven pieces (all rather short) found in the work, “Symphonies for Fifteen Soloists”. Quite Webern-like (Opus 30). Carefully written, yes, but possible somewhat academic or lacking in profile?   [listen]


21) Xenakis in 1953-54. “Metastasis”. Ex. include the opening (“airplane” taking off?), later (the imitative natural string parts he’ll not do again in such a conservative manner), glissandi in the last excerpt; the orchestra (normal size) is subdivided into 61 different parts. Then Side I ends with 7 tiny excerpts covering the whole of “Pithoprakta” (1955-6): A work for 50 instruments (46 strings, 2 trombones, 1 xylophone, 1 wood block. Xenakis used calculus of probabilities in writing this work. The way one plays instruments and their results play a part in this work. He calls his approach “stochastic” (probabilistic) music. Sound, yes. Symbolic sound (almost in a literal sense at times).   [listen]



22) Messiaen in 1953 (and back to the birds): the opening bars of “Réveil des oiseaux” (which contains the songs of 38 birds). The work “lasts” from midnight to midday (with two climaxes: the dawn chorus at 4am, and a long piano cadenza just before midday utilizing 15 different songs). Form is a real problem here! Also the authenticity (maybe it really makes no difference, after all, this must be a work of the imagination, not one of nature) of the songs? Now in the “Oiseaux Exotiques” (1956) one finds freer material along with the songs of birds hence the second example where one finds bass textures alongside the higher songs of birds (the “literal” interpretation of birdsong). The third excerpt begins near the end where, after a few seconds one hears the almost tonal call of the Indian white-rumped shama (repeated in different groupings) and the piano (solo) replies with two North American birdsongs. The orchestra lends its weight to this rebuttal of the Shama theme with two calls (heard earlier in the score) and then to obliterate that tonal feeling of the Shama, a 12 note chord spread over 6 _ octaves is repeated 31 times (and ending the work). Those 31 repetitions of the same chord is also a birdcall (a white-crested laughing thrush). The fourth excerpt is drawn from Messiaen’s monumental “Catalogue d’Oiseaux” (1956-8) a work for solo piano and containing 13 piano pieces (lasting almost 2 _ hours): The opening of the “La Chouette Hulotte” represents another work embodying the principles of “Mode de Valeurs” (integrating or uniting pitch, duration, and dynamics: 7 levels of dynamics arranged on a symmetrical plan, durations from a 32nd note on an A natural above middle C and descending by the same length step by step until it reaches 49 32nd notes long—the pitch ordering is left to the composer; the fifth excerpt, the sixth movement (only part of this 4 minute movement that is a constant song of the songs of 18 birds weaving in and out, all played by strings, instruments not used before in this bird works) of the 1960 work, “Chronochromie” (the color of time); Next, the sixth excerpt is the opening of the movement “Gagaku” from the 1962 work, “Sept Haikai” (the first purely melodic movement written in 10 years); excerpt six (and the last Messiaen example) begins with the last tam-tam sound at the beginning of a movement and this brings forth two modified plain songs (Gregorian chants). The second one is the beautiful Alleluia for Easter Sunday. This is form the forth movement of the 1964 “Et Expecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum” commissioned by André Malraux and the orchestration intends it for vast spaces.   [listen]


23) Dallapiccola’s “An Mathilde” (1955): All of the first movement (Before it begins, you hear the opening bars of the Webern “First Kantata”. Obviously Dallapiccola liked this work very much but it is only from a formal view that it “touches” An Mathilde). “Den Strauss, den mir Mathilde band…” (“With pleading hand I wave away/ Mathilde’s freshly-picked bouquet—I cannot look at the flowers in bloom/Without shuddering for my own doom. They tell me I’m alive no more. But have one foot behind Death’s door: A poor, unburied corpse, who lies/ and waits for Death to shut his eyes. When I smell flowers I have to cry—Of all earth’s treasures piled up high, the beauty and sunlight, the love and the glee,/ Nothing but tears are left for me.”) None of the second movement is heard (“Memorial Day”) but all of the third is heard: “To the Angels” (“That is the wicked Thanatos. He rides upon a fallow horse; I hear its hoofbeat, hear its gait, the cruel horseman lies in wait. He’ll tear me hence, Mathilde I must leave. Oh, how that thought does my poor heart bereave. To me she was both child and wife. And if I pass to yonder life, widow and orphan she will be, forsaken in this world by me, my wife, my child, who in my courage trusted. Carefree and loyal on my bosom rested. You angels far above the skies Oh hear my sobbing and my cries! Protect when I am laid to rest, my angel wife, the loved and the bless’d. Beshield and warden to your own reflection: My child Mathilde, grant her your protection. By all the tears wept from your eyes for human woes and human sighs/ And by the name the priest alone may speak and shudderingly intone. By your own beauty, clemency, perfection I pray: You angels, grant her your protection.”) A four part canon beginning with the third verse (“You angels…”) commences with the slower movement, and it goes to the end of the work. Dallapiccola, in these two movements, has almost totally purified the pitch relations, i.e. octave relations have ceased and the chromatic 12 different tones covers the whole (available) pitch field (it is not a field divided by octaves). The performance you hear was its first performance, a remarkable feat; sorry about the poor quality of the sound. The text is by H. Heine.   [listen]

24) Four excerpts from Dallapiccola’s 1956 work, “Cinque Canti”: first in the second movement an eleven note melodic portion sung by the baritone (possible this was the original phrase first conceived by the composer if the author of these tapes and notes remembers correctly) using an anonymous Greek poem for the text (about golden birds lamenting “in startled.” Then the baritone sings, “some begin, some hesitate”); The second ex. begins eight bars later where the text speaks: “and echo who never is still friend of solitude, repeats from valley depths.” This is “accompanied” by an alto flute and flute in canon (mirrored and the alto flute playing twice as fast as the flute. The voice doesn’t have the flourish until the flutes finish their flourish—of course that echo is heard in those flutes…). The third excerpt is from the fourth move. (the third is a tormenting one which contains a slow evolution pertaining to the cross: the last page is an image of the Christian cross although the text deals with Acheron, the River of Torment). It begins exactly as it ends (backwards at the end: you’ll hear that in ex. 4). The text here is, “They are sleeping, the mountain tops, and the wide valleys…” (serpents and wild beasts are sleeping). Excerpt 4 is the latter part of this movement: “The monsters in the vague depths of the sea; they are sleeping, the generations of birds with mighty wings.” The poet Alcman wrote the text (mid 7th c. BC lyric poet).   [listen]

25) “Concerto per la Notte di Natale dell’Anno 1956” (Christmas Concerto) by Dallapiccola 1957-8. The text is from the unusual poet and Franciscan “spiritual” Jacopone da Todi, 13th century, and the work was commissioned by the Rameau Society of Tokyo. The first ex. comes from the opening of the first movement (there are five movements: the first, third and fourth are with voice; the form is rather circular. The middle movement contains both the first and fifth and possibly goes both clockwise and counterclockwise; the first and fifth have much to do with each other; the text for the second movement announces (like the early hours) and the fourth movement text consumes (late hours); there is a line within the fourth move. text that might help give a clue to its original conception): certainly one could hear how this has the delicacy or sensitivity that a parent (or mother) might have for the child i.e., how delicately it rocks back and forth like the Christ child (maybe as seen through a Lippi). The second ex. is at the end of the first movement (“Prologue”) taking it to where it began (also notice the feeling of time passing—time getting shorter very near the end of the first excerpt—giving also an idea of something to come, like an announcement). This leads to the second movement (“Hymn”) and the third ex. where the opening is heard: “A song is heard: Glory be on high/ to God the highest; and peace…”. An announcement; the fourth ex. is near the end of this second movement, “…praise ye and bless Christ, the adored one!”) The fifth ex. has the first 4 bars of the middle movement. It begins up high, comes down, like entering the dark (hell?); the movement has a strong climactic moment and (ex. six) it goes back up to a high place (heaven?) and prepares the fourth movement (the center move. is the longest and seemingly the heart of the work). “Love, love cries all the world, love, love, all things shout; love, love, you are a round circle: whoever enters loves you with all his heart forever, for you are warp and woof—to clothe him who loves you; so sweet to hear—the eternal cry of love. Love, love, Jesu whom I yearn for, Love, I want to die embracing you; Love, love, Jesu, my sweet spouse, love, love, I beg you give me death; Love, love, Jesu my delight. You restore me to you in this transfiguration. Behold. I swoon, Love, I have lost myself: Jesu, my hope, drown me in love.” There is a moment in this movement where “love” (amore) is repeated two extra times—at that moment one sees half circles over phrases that have an exact shape of those half circles, i.e., they have an almost tactile feeling about them and certainly one senses the halo (they also appear in mirror form giving off complete circles). The composer added that part after its first performance: “The movement was 15 seconds too short psychologically and aesthetically speaking” is this writer remembers the exact meaning and words. The last excerpt is the very beginning of the last movement (where it seems to swoon).   [listen]


26) Two tiny excerpts from Dallapiccola’s “Requiescant” 1957-8, to show his use of sounds that almost seem quaint (sounds that conjure one into expecting what the text actually demands) and might make one hear diminished seventh chords (although they aren’t exactly those chords). (The text for this third movement is from an Oscar Wilde poem that begins, “Tread lightly, she is near, Under the snow…”). You only hear the opening four chords and then you hear an ex. from the fifth movement, the opening 13 bars (“Dingdong! the castle bell!” From James Joyce). Notice those kinds of chords heard in the previous example. This work (for chorus and orchestra) has never been performed in the USA and only four times in Europe. A very difficult work. It is also built in bogen form (except vocal movements are one, three, and five) as in the “Christmas Concerto.” French performance (singing English).   [listen]


27) Luigi Nono’s 1956 “Il Canto Sospeso” (The Suspended Song, or The Interrupted Song) certainly the music has both meanings, and it certainly “floats in space”). [ ] that has seemed to be a sign of a more mature Nono. On this tape, you’ll hear [ ] bars from the opening movement (for [ ] and even those bars can give you the [ ] that Nono has more control (hence more freedom) than in previous excerpts heard on these tapes and then the first six bars of the opening of the second movement. The text is based on a book that was published in Italy in 1954 containing the letters of resistance fighters who were sentenced to death. The work uses the same row Nono used a number of times (the wedge row) before and [ ] He uses durational series, at times [ ] series and rhythmic and pitch [ ] use of words involves their timbre [ ] six bars partially demonstrate the [ ] used: the chorus is divided into [ ] there are only 4 different threads [ ] constant durational lengths, i.e., [ ] 6 numbers (1 2 3 5 8 13—a mathematical sequence) in succession (and its retrograde) and my multiplying those numbers by four different basic musical rhythmical units ( , , , ) that is, 1 times an eighth note, 2 times an eighth note, etc; 1 times a triplet, etc., you’ll have some sort of rhythmic organization. Point is, a single row is used for all the different successive parts. The words and syllables were not serialized although they are distributed throughout the four parts in a somewhat irrational manner (regarding the horizontal normal organization of semantic structure). The text on the tape is: “I die for a world that sparkles with light…” (26 year old Bulgarian teacher and journalist). Third movement not on tape. All the fourth move. is heard: It is a crescendo and decrescendo all within an octave (a 12 note chord, all within a major seventh horizontally spread out by using a durational series). You can hear the opening of the fifth movement and closing of it (take three basic rhythmic units: and multiply them by numbers 1 2 and 7; there is a note canon—pitches “free”—between the three parts, too complicated to explain in these notes. But listen to the last few notes and compare them with the opening notes and you’ll hear the same rhythm except they mirror each other). The text: “If the sky (heaven) were paper and all the seas were ink…” (comparing the sorrow). (If the singer had been better, you’d hear more of this movement). The sixth movement is in two parts (the ex. has the end of 6a and all of 6b) and the text (missing on tape is the portion about doors opening and there are out murderers to take us away) deals with “How hard it is to say good-bye to life so beautiful!” (hear the vowels with mouths half closed!). Then all the seventh movement is heard with its moving text (written by a Russian woman): “…Good-bye momma, your daughter Liubka must go to the damp earth…” The technique is of the same nature, although he has superimposed more than one row at a time. Please notice the tonal cadence at the end (“Must go to the damp earth”?). None of the eighth movement (orchestral) and the beginning of the last movement (9th) using the retrograde form of the row (same techniques used) and then the “coda”, chorus with mouth closed (the texts used in the movement are about death but with faith, like, “I go with the faith in a better life for you”). Timpani is part of the threads and is quite poignant. A work displaying a natural lyricism and a true gift. (Words such as these are important to Nono).   [listen]


28) In April, 1958, Nono finished a vocal chamber work using the poetry of Cesare Pavese “La Terra e la Campagna”. You have one long excerpt (the performance is not very good but the work is very difficult to perform) using one of the three poems: “You know not the hills where blood is shed. How many fled, How many threw down weapon and name (a woman shall watch the fleeing). Only one of us shall stop and with fists closed shall see the empty sky (with) head bowed and the dead under the wall, silently. Now he is a rag of blood and a NAME. (A woman waits on the hills).” Notice the same row (wedge) and how wonderfully conceived it is from the standpoint of just when the music needs more sound, in comes instruments (not heard before in the whole piece). (A better performance would convey the score well).   [listen]

29) A work utilizing 32 singers all with a separate part, the “Cori di Didone” by Nono (finished June 4, 1958) Almost an impossible task to perform with exactness. The first ex. (opening to bar 8) displays Nono’s now known vocal technique (bits and pieces of words slow appearing, disappearing, tone clusters, irrational subdivisions of the pulse, same type of row technique as used before, dynamics under each note, etc.) Seems in control but an almost impossibility for correct performance (the first ex. is performed by a Munich group, the others by the Cologne group) although this is done quite well considering. “The evening is prolonged by a suspended fire” (poet is Ungaretti) is its opening. Second ex. begins a new section (poem): “Now the wind has become silent, silent also is the sea: All is quiet but I cry out, the cry, alone of my heart, cry of love, cry of shame of my heart that burns. Since I watched you and you looked at me and I am nothing any more but a weak thing. I cry and my heart is afire without peace since the time when I became only a thing in ruins and abandoned…” The third ex. comes from the fourth part (near the opening) “In a squall there opened in the dark, a harbor supposed to be safe…” Notice how well Nono integrates the cymbals with the voices. The fourth is tiny, “unchangeable heaven…”; the fifth begins the fifth section: “I will embellish my decline tonight…” Notice the unisons, how chords are made, etc. The sixth example is the beginning of the Finale, “No more roar, no whispering sea.” Nono creates a sound drama but it has its limitations: it is more color than anything else.   [listen]


30) Nono finished a work for a chorus of six sopranos and a soprano solo: “Ha Venido” one year before “Intolleranza”. This ex. is at the opening and Nono uses the same two poems that Dallapiccola used in his Machado work. “La primavera ha venido. Nadie sabe como ha sido” Beginning the solo soprano “La primavera ha venido, i Aleluyas blacas de los zarzales floridos!” This is an excellent performance and might give one an idea what Nono’s original concepts are like.  

31) The opera “Intolleranza 1960” by Nono. It has its problems but displays moments such as the next two excerpts exhibit. Beginning the second act, scene 1, one senses a great commotion (showing today’s absurd life): one can rightly guess that one “hears” a cash register (not for nothing in this work) and then up to the forefront comes the atom bomb explosion; quickly following, “Mai, Mai” (Never, Never) from the soprano. The second ex. comes a little later; it displays Nono’s wonderful sense of lyric poetry (and an intensity in the orchestra episode recalling Lorca’s great line about the blood comes singing): The text is not poetry! and it reads something like this: “The smoke from Hiroshima streamed in raging nerves / the veins of our existence / equally vibrate in electric wire”. Then the orchestra: “blood comes singing,” and then something about being able to know delicate and frail calmness to expose wonder and love. (Text in German).      [ex.1 listen]    [ex. 2 listen]


32) Berio’s “Allelujah 2” (1956-9): Excerpt one is the opening (compare to Nono—the sensibility); ex. 2 is a little later and one might think it has been influenced by the “big-band”, some Cuban rhythm, and that big gesture at the end of the excerpt (Berio might show some vulgarity?…). Third and last excerpt is more of the same; some “jet-streams” for a few second: some “Gruppen” (Stockhausen) influence (conceived for 5 instrumental groups, etc.).   [listen]

33) Berio’s “Sequenza” (1958) for flute solo has several note “chords” and here they are (the other phrases are rather typical Berio and phrases of the time).   [listen]


34) Berio took a number of lines from Joyce’s “Ulysses”, has his wife (singer) recite those lines. He then took those words and the sounds of those words (many of the words are onomatopoeic and alliterative) manipulated and filtered them and made a work lasting six minutes. First you hear 5 lines or parts of lines read and each suggesting ways of playing notes: “Imperthnthnthnthn” = trill; “chips, picking chips” = staccato; “warbling. Ah, lure!” = appoggiatura; “Deaf bald Pat brought pad knife took up” = martellato; “A sail! A veil a wave upon waves” = glissando. You then hear some hisses and parts of them (Nono exploited some of these ways to project the word) on the word “sail”, etc. Some of Joyce’s treatment of certain words is heard, and then more from the Berio (the work has several titles but “Omaggio a Joyce” tells most it seems).   [listen]


35) The opening of Berio’s “Circles” shows something of the same: taking words, “Stinging gold swarms upon the spires” (ee cummings) 1960.   [listen]


36) The end of a performance of Stockhausen’s “Piano Piece XI” (1956). This work gained an unfair amount of fame incommensurate with its musical worth but it was printed on a large sheet (it came in a tube and a from to hold it) and on the sheet were 19 note groups placed irregularly on the page. The performer could play any group in one of six tempos, etc. It was a prototype of indeterminacy and the musical ‘mobile’.   [listen]

37) Pousseur’s “Rimes pour differentes sources sonores” was one of the earliest works to incorporate performers with tape (mostly electronic although you’ll hear modified percussion instruments at the beginning). 1958-9. 2 excerpts.   [listen]


38) A very short ex. from Kagel’s “Transicion II” (1858-9) for piano, percussion, and two tape recorders (The first time tape recorders used in live performance.) The percussionist plays on the strings, soundboard, and rim, of the piano. Kagel attempted to unite past, present, and future (performers play in the present, they are recorded hence they will be part of the future and when played, they exist in the past).   [listen]

39) Maderna wrote a Serenade III for taped sounds and instruments. Here is a portion of it (1958-9).   [listen]

40) Boulez conceived (1958) two vocal chamber works inspired by the poet, Mallarmé. You first hear the first verse from “Improvisation sur Mallarmé”: “The virginal, living, and beautiful day, will it tear for us with a blow of its drunken wing this hard forgotten lake haunted beneath the frost by the transparent glacier that has not flown!” The pitch field is quite absolute until it “melts” into some field that is still related to the original (the notes for the voice are conceived in such a way).   [listen]

41) The opening (beginning like an explosion) of Boulez’s monumental work, “Pli selon pli” (fold upon fold) with the following Mallarmé line sung: “I bring you the child of the night of Idumea!” This is the first movement entitled “Don” (gift) Mainly an orchestra work, the taped portion is only the opening page. The second ex. is all of the second move., the same work as in ex. 40, except all of it is heard here (with the full orchestra used in a subtle manner). The rest of the text, “A swan of long ago remembers that it is he, magnificent but freeing himself without hope, for not having sung the country to live in when the tedium of sterile winter shone. His whole moving neck will shake off this white agony inflicted by space on that bird that denies it, but not the horror of the earth where his feathers are caught. A phantom condemned to this place by his pure brilliance, he stays motionless in the cold dream of scorn in his exile by the swan.”   [listen]

42) Now the opening of the last movement, “Tombeau” (1959-62). It begins to build when the taped portion fades. About 8 minutes later in this movement the last excerpt begins and it goes to the end. “A so shallow rivulet, much maligned death” is the text heard. It is impossible to describe what the whole work presents. The performance is from the first complete performance given at Baden Baden after Boulez completed the work. The recording on Columbia is quite different. It is a very clear work from many viewpoints. The total sound is quite remarkable and its eloquence and elegance is not found in other works written by other composers of his generation. This is the only work of such quality written by Boulez.   [listen]


43) Poland during the 1950’s became very active in contemporary music. Lutoslawski was the first to “modernize” himself (but Penderecki received the most publicity when he wrote a work for 52 strings and named it, “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima”). Three Excerpts: First is a few bars of the above work: the second immediately follows and is a few bars from an organ work by Ligeti, 1962. Certainly it is not difficult to understand what is happening. Controlled sensation (color is a great part of it) projection of pure sound and an effect. No other musical ideas attached. The third ex. is from Ligeti’s 1967 organ work, “Etude No. 1—Harmonies” (organ works from Ligeti have appeared in abundance during the 1970’s).   [listen]


44) Ligeti’s “Aventures—Nouvelles Aventures” (1962-5). As one can hear, theatre has an importance here. Exploring and writing down in sound and gesture more-or-less every attitude we have within us in all aspects of life: it is all open now and here it is done impeccably (almost frightening too well done, very rationalized). Unfortunately, the writer hasn’t a score nor libretto. In the second ex. (there are seven), notice time being perfectly controlled.   [listen]

45) Luigi Nono in 1964. “La Fabbrica Illuminata” and one can now realize that he has totally given himself to sociological problems (to the political situation of Western society). His uncompromising attitudes toward both aesthetics and politics make his position rather difficult! There are 2 ex. mirroring his own view of the factory and its relation with human individuals. Notice in the second ex. the intense contrast exhibited. Nono, as in Dallapiccola, has great concern for freedom. Quite a contrast between 44 & 45!   [listen]


46) Nono’s “Como una ola de fuerza y luz” (Like a wave of power and light) (1971-2). Shows no change in direction. In the first ex., one hears the name Luciano spoken (this is a lament for voice and pre-recorded male choir: Nono was inspired but saddened by the accidental death of a young leader of the movement of the revolutionary left in Chile whom he knew). The second and third ex. are based upon the sound that M. Pollini gets from the manner in which he strikes the piano (alive and taped) plus an orchestra, taped chorus, part of a “long march.”   [listen]

47) A short ex. from a “Quartet No. 4” by Giacinto Scelsi, born 1905. The work (1964) is based on the succession and superposition of microtones.   [listen]

48) An example by a Japanese composer (in the early 1950’s one could hear music written by Yorinori Matsudaira. Emperor Meiji, 1868-1912, forced adoption of European music in the Japanese educational system): Takemitsu’s “November Steps” for two traditional Japanese instruments (biwa and shakuhachi) and orchestra.   [listen]


49) Now a very short compendium of Stockhausen’s work from 1960-1970: first, the end of the piano (effects derived through tremolo, trills, clusters, grace notes and damper pedal techniques), percussion (by dividing percussive sounds into 6 categories you can achieve variety), and electronically generated sounds recorded on tape, one of two versions of “Kontakte” (1960). Two: live electronic music with “Mikrophonie I” (picking up the sounds from two microphones as they “Promiscuously” roam over tamtams—actually two players “excite” the tamtams while others meddle with their excitations, etc.. Three: “Telemusik” (1966): “to take a step further in the direction of composing not “my” music, but a music of the whole world, of all countries and all races. I am certain you will hear them in “Telemusik” these mysterious visitors from…”—2 excerpts: folk music and electronically produced sounds intermodulated (the result of an interaction of two or more sounds) producing an end product connecting the familiar and the unknown. Four: “Hymnen” (1966), a work dealing with 4 “regions” lasting 113 minutes (national anthems are used as centers): the opening excerpts plunge downwards (shouting of people, bird shrieks, swamp ducks, yelling, and then the “Marseillaise” 8 times slower than normal), you’ll hear K. Stockhausen talking: the present, i.e., he is at the moment making this work and we hear it as the past, then America, etc. Five: K.H.S. formulated a score of his previous works but they are “recomposed in such a way that the will of KHS is absent” (The piano chord is the end of this ex.). Six: the first work that KHS relinquishes fundamental compositional control over “Aus den Sieben Tagen” (Nothing is concrete: “Think nothing, play a vibration” etc. is what the score “says”). Seven: “Stimmung” performed by 6 singers, originally based on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th overtones of a row B fundamental. (You hear a number of successive moments from the beginning.) Eight: (last) is “Mantra” (1970), a work written with the Kontarsky brothers in mind: “The work arises in its entirety from a 13 note sound formula”. Each of those notes is “central to the 12 forms of expansion and 13 x 12 transpositions”. Too involved to explain here, you hear the very opening and then a passage involving one of those notes. The antique cymbal introduces each new section. The 13 pitches are divided into four groups (limbs) and each note is articulated in a different manner. Modulated piano sonorities exist in close association.   [listen]


50) Berio’s “Sequenza V” (1966): This example has 3 excerpts: Now the instrument is the primary source: the instrument itself, plus the instrumentalist (Globokar in this case).   [listen]


51) Berio’s “Sinfonia” (1968): This style became fashionable during the second half of the 1960’s. Here you hear a number of composers all within the “pen” of Berio (mostly Mahler). But if you weren’t a person who knew these composers, would this work be relevant? That is, time and place is of utmost importance (although one might think the opposite). Has the text consciously been chosen for the effect it will make? Is the unconscious very active in this music? It has been cleverly constructed, has it not? Is it a very compromised (bourgeois) music or is it a single-minded work, endeared to totality (at least from a Western point of view)? Or should one take it so seriously?    [listen]




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