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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Peak-Period Berio Before He Lost His Mojo

By Norman Lebrecht on May 29, 2020

Luciano_Berio

Luciano Berio: Coro & Cries of London (Bis)

★★★★☆

🎧 Spotify | Apple Music | Amazon

Since we’re unlikely in the next few years to hear another live performance of Berio’s massive Sinfonia — his collage tribute to Mahler’s second symphony — we’ll have to make do with the works that followed it. Coro developed out of Cries of London, written for the King’s Singers in 1973-74. It is a montage of street songs, madrigals, verses by Pablo Neuruda and snatches of colloquialism, built upon a large orchestral foundation — 84 instruments — of pure ascetic modernism.

It’s wonderfully challenging to all our musical preconceptions and frequently beautiful beyond words. This is peak-period Berio, before he lost his mojo and succumbed into writing pastiche Schubert. It is also overtly political, referring both to Italian chaos and revolution in Chile.

Cries of London is the sort of thing you might have encountered at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 1980s, a pack of singers messing about with fragments of words and musical phrases. In feebler hands, it might have drifted off into nothingness. In Berio’s crafted concept, it turns into a haunting whole. Grete Pedersen conducts the Norwegian soloists choir and radio orchestra with unassuming precision and magnificent flair. Some of the closing dissonances could soothe anyone to sleep.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

Norman Lebrecht’s new book Genius and Anxiety is available now.

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Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Canadian Music Centre Launches New Digital Platform

By Michael Vincent on September 29, 2021

Announced this week, the Canadian Music Centre has launched a new online hub for contemporary music composers and ensembles.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | Renée Fleming Is A Voice of Nature

By Norman Lebrecht on September 24, 2021

Renée Fleming sings out full and flamboyant in this set of nature-themed songs that came together during her daily walks in the COVID lockdown.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | Beethoven And Birtwistle: A Bag Of Bagatelles

By Norman Lebrecht on October 1, 2021

Hodges makes Beethoven sound so much like Birtwistle and vice versa that you, the listener, never know quite where you are.
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