Thursday, October 6, 2011

Luciano Berio - Recital 1 (For Cathy) (RCA - SER 5665)

Luciano Berio's companionship to Cathy Berberian has a long history with diversification in terms of intensity. They cooperated in many operas as well as shared the same bed (Presumably) at nights. They have a similar relationship like that of Britten and Pears's, though more conventional.

The record is based on a piece written by Berio for Berberian. The piece is immensely concetrated on the vocal talent of Berberian and all throughout the record, it shows. Music never ever takes the front stage, only accompanies on the background with periodical exclamations.

The recital starts with a Monteverdian style (I learned about this style after listening the record) and at first you get the feeling of listening a warm up for a rehearsal with a distant harpsichord being heard. Then Berberian starts a monologue as she seems like talking to herself. Piano, trumpet and flute enters the stage yet still distant and uncoodinated until Berberian asks them to coordinate themselves by calling out. The Piano takes on holds as a regular background near the end of the record

The texts (They can hardly be called lyrics) come from various sources including some passages written by Berio. The B side starts with a "Play It Again Sam" and continues with a song of Marlene Dietrich while in between there are fragments written by Berio.

Conceptually this is a provoking piece of self realization and wake up call while the center is the vocals and diversity of Cathy Berberian. It is frankly to be mentioned that she did not earn her fame based on nothing, she has an incredible voice with such versatility that you start to acknowledge her more like an instrument. This is a record to listen to. It is a wonderful experience of contemporary thinking and masterful techniques.

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