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  • Berio: Recital I for Cathy / Folk Songs / 3 Songs by Kurt Weill
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Berio: Recital I for Cathy / Folk Songs / 3 Songs by Kurt Weill Import


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Audio CD, Import, February 24, 1995
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: RCA Victor Europe
  • ASIN: B000003FOS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,715 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Reciatal I For Cathy: Se I Languidi Miei Sguardi
2. Reciatal I For Cathy: Amor, Dov'e La Fe
3. Recital I For Cathy: 'Ah! He Hadn't Been There Before...'
4. Recital I For Cathy: 'Cl That's The Sound That Has Been Haunting Me...'
5. Recital I For Cathy: Avendo Gran Desio
6. Recital I For Cathy: 'Who Hasn't Taken A Piece Out Of My Life?'
7. Recital I For Cathy: Musician Exchange: 'These 5 Men...'
8. Recital I For Cathy: Exc: Mahler, Delibes, Rossini, Etc
9. Recital I For Cathy: Calmo E Lontano: 'Libera Nos'
10. Folk Songs: Black Is The Colour...
11. Folk Songs: I Wonder As I Wander...
12. Folk Songs: Loosin Yelav...
13. Folk Songs: Rossignolet Du Bois
14. Folk Songs: A La Femminisca
15. Folk Songs: La Donna Ideale
16. Folk Songs: Ballo
17. Folk Songs: Motettu De Tristura
18. Folk Songs: Malurous Qu' O Uno Fenno
19. Folk Songs: Lo Fiolaire
20. Folk Songs: Azerbaijan Love Song
See all 23 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The American-Armenian soprano Cathy Berberian was Luciano Berio's first wife and more importantly longstanding inspirational muse. Though she was influential in many of Berio's more important compositions such as "Circles" and "Sequenza III", his avant-garde "Recital 1" here is often equally fascinating. The "Folk Songs" in various languages and styles compiled by John Jacob Niles also gives Berberian the chance to demonstrate her unique instrument. Her lovely renditions of three songs by Kurt Weill perfectly conclude this extraordinary recital.

Amazon.com

Cathy Berberian, singer and wife of Luciano Berio, was one of music's true originals. Equally adept at Monteverdi and the wildest effusions of the avant-garde, her performances brought her husband's music to new and appreciative audiences, while permitting Berio to create some of his most gripping work at the same time. Folk Songs is exactly what the title says--a collection of folk songs from around the world which gives Berberian the opportunity to demonstrate her ability to sing in different languages and styles. Recital 1 is something else again--a monologue for soprano that reveals the slow disintegration of her personality. It's a nervous breakdown in music. Berberian performs everything on this disc brilliantly. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1998
I'd heard so much about Cathy Berberian that I jumped at the chance to buy this CD. I was particularly interested in what she did with the Folk Songs (since I'd worked on them myself). She is subtler than I expected, but always clear in her interpretation. She has a surprisingly youthful sounding voice, and I suspect she was something of an actress (Recital I)! The range goes from avant garde (Recital I) to show tunes (Kurt Weill), with everything else in between, and she performs all equally well. The reviews sum it up well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 6, 2010
This RCA disc contains several pieces marvellously performed by the modernist diva Cathy Berberian. Married to Luciano Berio for several years, and long afterward his muse, Berberian brought not only an impeccable voice to the performance of many pieces, but an enthralling stage personality. There's some Kurt Weill on here too, but my review will be limited to the Berio since I bought the disc in exploring his output.

Berio's "Recital I for Cathy" for female voice and 17 instruments (1972) is a highly theatrical work from a composer who loved to mash up modernism and the classical canon and make a scandalous spectacle of it. The soprano begins by beautifully singing an aria by Monteverdi. But in a few minutes, she's abandoned this straightforward performance and begins speaking stream-of-consciousness dialogue, complaining that her pianist is late and other such fears of the performer. The ensemble dissolves into fractured modernist lines, with random quotations from the classical period, big band jazz and even earlier Berio sometimes popping up.

The "Recital I for Cathy" could have never reached a wide audience, for few listeners have the requisite knowledge of bel canto *and* a love of postmodern zaniness. But the work has also dated badly, and while I find this fun enough on an initial listening, it doesn't really have much attraction afterward. Certainly Berio's similar piece "Sinfonia" has shown much more staying power. It's frustrating, for perhaps seeing Berberian perform this live back in the day would have been an amazing experience, but in accessing this piece through recording I cannot be too positive about it.

"Folk Songs" (1964) is a cycle of 11 arrangements Berio made from a wide variety of folk traditions.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marcos Saboya Santos on October 15, 2007
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The more traditional Folk Songs was a display piece for her facility with languages.In this suite those who know Berio as an avant-garde composer ranking with Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono and Karlheinz Stockhausen will discover him in an unaccustomedly light mood. Berio made these arrangements as ':a tribute to the extraordinary artistry" of the American singer Cathy Berberian, a specialist in Berio's music whose musicality, intelligence and perhaps unique virtuosity and range of tone color have made her world famous as an interpreter of the most difficult works of the avant-garde.

One cannot really classify either the first song, Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair, or the second, I Wonder As I Wander, as a genuine folk song. In fact, John Jacob Niles, the Kentucky-born singer and scholar, whose education included classes with Vincent d'Indy at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, composed them in Elizabethan modes and made them famous by singing and recording them. Berio's suite opens with a viola, free of bar lines and rhythmically independent of the voice, evoking a country fiddler. Harmonics from the viola, cello and harp contribute toward the "hurdy-gurdy sound" Berio wanted to accompany the second song.

Armenia, the country of Miss Berberian's forebears, provided the third song, Loosin yelav, which describes the rising of the moon. In the old French song Rossignolet du bois, introduced by antique finger cymbals, the nightingale advises an inquiring lover to sing his serenades two hours after mid-night, and identifies the "apples" in his garden as the moon and the sun. A sustained chord colored by the striking of automobile spring coils bridges this song to the next one, the old Sicilian song A la femminisca, sung by fishermen's wives as they wait at the docks.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 2001
"Recital I for Cathy" looks back into music history, quoting from famous operatic and recital pieces, while mainting a modern aesthetic, jumping from singing to speaking. It is schizophrenic and absurd, yet retains a certian homogeneity. A classic work with the famous Cathy Berberian, for whom it was written. The Folk Songs, too, are enjoyable--both recognizable and new.
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7 of 21 people found the following review helpful By birdwalker on October 25, 2005
I have the Sarah Walker recording of Berio's Folksongs, but I wanted to hear Berberian's interpretation, as the songs were arranged for her. What a shock: terribly annoying voice, intrusive accent in the English numbers, embarrassing pronunciation of Italian and Russian, and shallow, formulaic over-acting. Berberian fans would do well to check out Sarah Walker: gorgeous voice, careful and elegant pronunciation, exquisite phrasing -- and, in dramatic numbers, powerful acting. In addition, for all those who appreciate Berio, Henze, and other "modern" music composers, Walker has done her share, not only Berio and Henze, but also Maw, Tippett, Taverner -- and the older composers from Monteverdi through Wagner (she has the best hoy-yo-to-jo of them all.)
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