This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Berio opens his sleeve-note for this disc with the words: ''The subject of A-ronne is the elementary vocalization of a text and its transformation into something perhaps equally elementary but difficult to describe''. A problem this reviewer shares with the composer. What I am sure of, however, is that A-ronne is a marvelously compelling piece of music, and I use the word music with some degree of caution, partly because there are many for whom A-ronne stands for all that is incomprehensible in contemporary music, but also because, as Berio says, this is not a musical composition in the usual sense of the term.
The text is a short poem by Eduardo Sanguineti, which is constructed out of quotations from sources as diverse as the
Bible, Dante and the Communist Manifesto. Berio uses the poem as a generator of different vocal situations that run the gamut of emotions ''from A to ronne'' (the equivalent to our saying ''from A to Z''). These situations are presented as vocalizations that range from shouts, groans, sighs etc., to whistling and normal singing. The overall effect and creative technique employed, has certain parallels with the sixteenth-century Italian 'mannerist' madrigal composers. Of course, there are other pieces of music that pursue similar lines of investigation—works such as Ligeti's Adventures or the ''per ventiquattro voci'' movement from Sylvano Bussotti's Cinque frammenti all'Italia immediately spring to mind. But in many ways this piece, or perhaps more specifically this recording is by far the most satisfying of its genre.
The equally striking, but also hauntingly beautiful Cries of London make an ideal coupling. Here Berio recalls the cries used by the Elizabethan madrigalists, as well as alluding to the techniques of medieval music, such as the hoquet and organum which can be heard in the memorable opening 'cry'.
The performances of both works by Swingle II are a brilliant tour de force, and James Mallinson's stunning, almost three-dimensional recording sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded in this transfer to CD. I have no hesitation in recommending this reissue to anyone with open ears and an inquiring mind.
-- Michael Stewart, Gramophone
Works on This Recording
A-Ronne by Luciano Berio
Period: 20th Century
Cries of London by Luciano Berio
Period: 20th Century
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