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Luigi Nono: Vocal Music [Hybrid SACD - DSD]

Luigi Nono , Conductor: Manfred Schreier , Angelika Luz , Performer: Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Luigi Nono, Conductor: Manfred Schreier, Angelika Luz, Performer: Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
  • Audio CD (November 30, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Col Legno
  • ASIN: B0006B987O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,799 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. 'Ha venido'. Canciones para Silvia, for soprano & chorus of 6 sopranos
2. Donde estàs, hermano?, for 2 sopranos, mezzo & alto
3. Canti di vita e d'amore: Sul Ponte di Hiroshima, for soprano, tenor & orchestra: Djamila Boupachà, for solo soprano
4. Sarà dolce tacere, for 8 vocal soloists
5. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IA
6. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IB
7. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IC
8. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIA
9. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIB
10. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIC
11. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIIA
12. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIIB
13. Quando stanno morendo. Diario polacco No.2, for 4 female voices, bass flute, cello & live electronics: IIIC

Customer Reviews

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This Col Legno disc is a triumph on every level (now reissued as of 2008). I don't yet have an SACD player, but the sound is fantastic on my standard CD player. The jewel case is of some new construction, and it too is superior to the old standard. Why the 42-minute title piece "Quando stanno morendo" (1982) has remained so obscure is a mystery -- it is superb, one of the best late Nono works I've heard. Similar in some respects to the much better-known and often recorded "Das Atmende Klarsein," this is a more powerful composition.

"Quando stanno morendo" means "When they are dying," and it was composed in response to the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981, crushing the Solidarity movement. The text (which is included in English) is a montage, including sections of poetry by Czeslow Milosz, Endre Ady, Aleksandr Blok, Velemir Khlebnikov and Boris Pasternak, which was assembled by Nono's close associate Massimo Cacciari, who also put together the libretto for PROMETEO (see my review). The work is in three parts, each of them sub-divided into three (and the disc has nine separate tracks, whereas the booklet indicates only three). Part IIC, track 10, is the dramatic culmination, featuring a bitter denunciation of the Soviet Union ("Moscow -- ancient skull" ... "I know that you are orthodox wolves") and a long, rising wash of electronics that eventually reaches a stunning crescendo.
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Wishing to express clear political concerns with his avant-garde music, Luigi Nono wrote a number of vocal works with striking texts. This Collegno release from the 1990s presents the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart's performances of some of them. They come from both periods of Nono's career, the young Communist serialist and the older, less optimistic composer of microtonal music and live electronics.

The most important work here, I think, is "Quando stanno morendo" for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, alto, bass flute, cello and electronics (1982). This harsh indictment of the regime in Poland, which had just declared martial law, contains quotations from Czesław Miłosz, Endre Ady, Aleksandr Blok and Velemir Khlebnikov. While the voices are mainly treated as pure sound material and it is unclear what words exactly they are singing, the text does become briefly intelligible at the climax with bracing effect.

What climax is this? "Quanno stanno morendo" has a ABA structure. The first and last thirds of the piece are dominated by voice and mainly acoustic instrumental sounds. The second third, however, goes all out into electronic amplification and distortion of the singers and instruments. "Moscow, ancient skull," recites the contralto above the low strings of the cello harshly bowed and electronically treated. "I know that you are orthodox wolves." That middle section is really something, even in the pure stereo of the CD layer. This piece was recorded again on a Neos disc, which sounds slightly better than this Collegno recording in that the sense of vast hall space is more palpable here.
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