Symphony Guide: Berio’s Sinfonia – a reference machine?

Reading time: 2 min. Luciano Berio Tom Service

Finally: Tom Service has posted a symphony guide to Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, “a flabbergastingly rich strata of writings-on and writings-over”. The work for 8 voices and orchestra, which is dedicated to Leonard Bernstein, was premièred on 10 October 1968 by Berio, the New York Philharmonic and the Swingle Singers.

Read Service’s guide on The Guardian, you will most definitely not regret it.

Luciano Berio on Sinfonia:

The title of Sinfonia (composed in 1968 for the 125th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra) is not meant to suggest any analogy with the classical symphonic form. It is intended more etymologically: the simultaneous sound of various parts, here eight voices and instruments. Or it may be taken in a more general sense as the interplay of a variety of things, situations and meanings. Indeed, the musical development of Sinfonia is constantly and strongly conditioned by the search for balance, often an identity between voices and instruments; between the spoken or the sung word and the sound structure as a whole. This is why the perception and intelligibility of the text are never taken as read, but on the contrary are integrally related to the composition. Thus, the various degrees of intelligibility of the text along with the hearer’s experience of almost failing to understand, must be seen to be essential to the very nature of the musical process.

Read the full text.

Sign up for our newsletter!

You will regularly receive information about new scores with free downloads, current prize games and news about our composers.