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Berio: Sequenzas I - XIV


Release Date: 05/16/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557661   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Luciano Berio
Performer:  Nora ShulmanErica GoodmanTony ArnoldBoris Berman,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Between 1958 and 2002 Luciano Berio completed his 14 solo Sequenzas, a series of pieces that push not only each instrument's technical, textural, and expressive possibilities, but also those of the performer. Each work demands the utmost in technique, musicianship, tonal resources, theatricality, and stamina. Small wonder that the Sequenzas loom large in the active contemporary repertoire, while conservatories and competitions often assign them as test pieces. In 1998 Deutsche Grammophon brought out a three-disc set containing stunning interpretations of all 13 extant Sequenzas, plus the alto saxophone transcription of Sequenza IX for clarinet. Now Naxos enters the Sequenza playing field with equally world-class performances of the cycle, Read more including the Cello Sequenza (No. XIV) written in 2002 (the year before Berio's death) plus the soprano saxophone version of the Oboe Sequenza (No. VII).


It might be helpful to describe some of the ways in which the DG and Naxos performances differ. In Sequenza XII for Bassoon, Pascal Gallois' rapid leaps and piercing multiphonics convey a sharper impact through DG's close microphone placement. By contrast, Naxos' more distantly miked Ken Munday sounds relatively less incisive yet fuller bodied in longer, sustained passages. DG's violist Christophe Desjardins plays Sequenza VI's cyclonic opening chordal section with lacerating intensity, whereas Naxos' Steven Dunn's slightly slower tempo allows the pitches and cross rhythms a little more room to breathe.


Naxos' Jaspar Wood does a fine job with Sequenza VIII, but DG's Jeanne-Marie Conquer's double stops boast more variety and tonal differentiation. Regarding Sequenza II, it's a toss-up between Frédérique Cambreling's pronounced dynamic contrasts (DG) and Erica Goodman's greater clarity in the scurrying, ethereal passages (Naxos). While Naxos' Tony Arnold's playful soprano makes the most of Sequenza III's madcap mood shifts, DG's Luisa Castellani's suppler voice employs wider register extremes (she was Berio's preferred singer in later years).


Had pianist Boris Berman's extraordinary marksmanship in Sequenza IV been captured in more colorful sonic splendor, his interpretation easily would hold its own next to Florent Boffard's elegant insouciance. In Sequenza X for C Trumpet Berio uses piano resonance to create continuity between phrases. On DG, Gabriele Cassone's fat, flügelhorn-like sonority and immaculate repeated-note technique have no peer, yet I like the jazziness with which Naxos' Guy Few leans into the beginnings of certain phrases. In all, this release stands as a viable alternative to the DG set, if not necessarily a replacement as we await Mode's forthcoming Sequenza cycle.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sequenza I for Flute solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Nora Shulman (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
2.
Sequenza II for Harp solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Erica Goodman (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
3.
Sequenza III for Female Voice solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Tony Arnold (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
4.
Sequenza IV for Piano solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Boris Berman (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
5.
Sequenza V for Trombone solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Alain Trudel (Trombone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
6.
Sequenza VI for Viola solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Steven Dann (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; USA 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
7.
Sequenza VII for Oboe solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Matej Sarc (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
8.
Sequenza VIII for Violin solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Jasper Wood (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004)
Composition written: Italy (1976 - 1977). 
9.
Sequenza IXa for Clarinet solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Joaquin Valdepeñas (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
10.
Sequenza X for Trumpet and "silent" Piano by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Guy Few (Trumpet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
11.
Sequenza XI for Guitar solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Pablo Sáinz Villegas (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
12.
Sequenza XII for Bassoon solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Kenneth Munday (Bassoon)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
13.
Sequenza XIII for Accordion solo "Chanson" by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Joseph Petric (Accordion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
14.
Sequenza XIV for Cello solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Darrett Adkins (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
15.
Sequenza VIIb for Soprano Saxophone solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Wallace Halladay (Soprano Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1995 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 
16.
Sequenza IXb for Alto Saxophone solo by Luciano Berio
Performer:  Wallace Halladay (Alto Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Italy 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario 
Notes: St. John Chrysostom, Newmarket, Ontario (06/1998 - 05/2004) 

Sound Samples

Sequenza I
Sequenza II
Sequenza III
Sequenza IV
Sequenza V
Sequenza VI
Sequenza VII
Sequenza VIII
Sequenza IXa: Sequenza IX
Sequenza X
Sequenza XI

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