COVID-19 Update

Despite the problems caused by the Corona-virus our Webshop and the contact forms on our website are fully available. You may also address your inquiries to Thank you for your understanding if our answer takes longer as usual because of the current restrictions. Your Universal Edition Team

Luciano Berio: Continuo

  • for orchestra
  • 4 3 5 3 - 6 4 4 2 - mar, vib, hp(2), cel, pno,, t.sax, alto sax, str(at least 12 12 12 10 8)
  • Duration: 20’
  • Instrumentation details:
    group A1: flute
    alto flute
    tenor saxophone in Bb
    1st bassoon
    2nd bassoon
    group A2: piccolo
    1st oboe
    2nd oboe
    cor anglais
    clarinet in Eb
    alto saxophone in Eb
    group B1: 1st trumpet in C(+picc.tpt)
    2nd trumpet in C
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    bass tuba
    group B2: 1st trumpet in C
    2nd trumpet in C
    1st horn in F
    2nd horn in F
    3rd horn in F
    1st trombone
    2nd trombone
    bass tuba
    1st clarinet in Bb
    2nd clarinet in Bb
    3rd clarinet in Bb
    bass clarinet in Bb
    1st harp
    2nd harp
    electric organ
    violin I
    violin II
  • Composer: Luciano Berio
  • Dedication: Written for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Work introduction

Continuo is an Adagio, “distant and descriptive”. Its texture is rather light and airy and its structure is based upon a grid of recurrent modules. A continuous sound space - like a homogeneous surface - unfolds and is sporadically interrupted by large or small “windows” overlooking an ever-changing landscape.

While at work on Continuo, I was not consciously planning to create an architectural metaphor nor to pay musical homage to Chicago’s great masters: L. Sullivan, F. L. Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Nor was I aware of a direct reference to the airy yet solid constructions of Renzo Piano, to whose work I feel particularly close. Yet, as the work progressed, I realized this was actually happening. The internal musical processes of Continuo are indeed architectural, but the shape - the “form” some would say - is not. The modular criteria implicit in this work make Continuo a hardly habitable, a non-permanent, contradictory building: one that is virtually open to a continuous addition of new wings, rooms, and windows…

Luciano Berio


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

London (GB)
Philharmonia Orchestra
Luciano Berio

Previously Viewed Works

No previously viewed works