Luciano Berio: Chemins I

Luciano Berio Chemins I
Chemins I

Luciano Berio: Chemins I

Year of composition:
(su Sequenza II)
Scored for:
for harp and orchestra
Luciano Berio
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)
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
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
violin A
violin B
violin C
Kompositionsauftrag des SWF Baden-Baden
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Chemins I

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

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World première

Donaueschingen (DE)
Südwestfunk Orchester
Ernest Bour
Main soloists:
Francis Pierre

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