Luciano Berio: Chemins I

  • (su Sequenza II) (1965)
  • for harp and orchestra
  • 3 3 3 3 - 4 4 3 1 - hp(2), cel, hpsd, pno, str(8 vln.A, 8 vln.B, 8 vln.C, 8 vla, 8 vc, 8 cb)
  • Duration: 12’
  • Soloists:
    harp
  • Instrumentation details:
    1st flute
    2nd flute
    3rd flute
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    3rd oboe
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb (+bass cl(Bb))
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    contrabassoon
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    4th horn in F
    1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    3rd trumpet in C
    4th trumpet in C
    1st tenor trombone
    2nd tenor trombone
    3rd tenor trombone
    bass tuba
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    harpsichoird
    celesta
    piano
    violin A
    violin B
    violin C
    viola
    violoncello
    contrabass
  • Composer: Luciano Berio
  • Commission: Kompositionsauftrag des SWF Baden-Baden

Work introduction

The best way to analyse and comment on a musical work is to write another one using materials from the original work: a creative exploration of a composition is at the same time an analysis, a commentary and an extension of the original. The most profitable commentary on a symphony or an opera has always been another symphony or another opera. This is why my Chemins, where I quote, translate, expand and transcribe my Sequenzas for solo instrument, are also the Sequenzas’ best analyses. The instrumental ensemble brings to the surface and develops musical processes that are hidden and compressed in the solo part, amplifying every aspect, including the temporal one: at times the roles are inverted so that the solo part appears to be generated by its own commentary.

Why this insistence on elaborating and transforming again the same material? It is, maybe, a tribute to the belief that a thing done is never finished. Even the “completed” work is the ritual and the commentary of something which preceded it, of something which will follow it, as a question that does not provoke an answer but a commentary, and another question...

Chemins I is a specific commentary which includes, almost intact, the object and the subject of the commentary: Sequenza II for harp (1963), written for Francis Pierre.

Chemins I is not the result of an orchestral “dressing up” of Sequenza II or the displacement of an objet trouvé into a different context: it is rather a rereading and an expansion of the structural characters inherent in the original piece. In Chemins I the given text and its commentary become bound in a continuous interchange of elements and characters, as a form carries its colours and shadows... and is constantly changed by them.

Luciano Berio

Audiosamples

World première

Location:
Donaueschingen (DE)
Date:
30.11.1964
Orchestra:
Südwestfunk Orchester
Conductor:
Ernest Bour
Main soloists:
Francis Pierre

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