Stories: Berio and friends

Audio Samples

>Berio, Luciano [Composer] : A-Ronne, for 8 voices (SSAATTBB)
>Cage, John : Living Room Music
>     A Story
>MacLow, Jackson : Young Turtle Asymmetries, for voice or vocal ensemble
>Marsh, Roger : Not a Soul But Ourselves, for 4 amplified voices
>Frank, Sheldon : As I Was Saying, for voice & dancer
>Berberian, Cathy : Stripsody, for solo voice

Album Summary

>Berio, Luciano [Composer] : A-Ronne, for 8 voices (SSAATTBB)
>Cage, John : Living Room Music
>MacLow, Jackson : Young Turtle Asymmetries, for voice or vocal ensemble
>Marsh, Roger : Not a Soul But Ourselves, for 4 amplified voices
>Frank, Sheldon : As I Was Saying, for voice & dancer
>Berberian, Cathy : Stripsody, for solo voice
Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Paul Hillier leads Theatre of Voices in a fascinating program centered on the artistic milieu of the contemporary composer Luciano Berio. Hillier says, "Although not all these composers actually knew each other, I think of them as a group of mutual friends with shared interests and predilections. If there is a link between them it is perhaps the influence of John Cage, though it could almost equally have been the personality of Cathy Berberian."

Works:
Berio: A-Ronne
Berberian: Stripsody
Frank: As I Was Saying
Cage: Story
Marsh: Not a Soul but Ourselves
Mac Low: The Turtle Assymetries

Artists:
Theatre of Voices/Paul Hillier

"Berio's A-Ronne collages together fragments of text from various sources representing the standard distinctions of beginning/middle/end, while Cage's Story deconstructs a short text by Gertrude Stein into rhythmic, fragmentary vocables. Sheldon Frank's As I Was Saying is a collation of the meaningless pause-phrases that punctuate normal speech: literally, like reading between the lines." -The Independent

"Hillier's Theatre of Voices do the whole mélange proud – their version of Berberian's piece uses three voices whereas her original version was a solo – and the disc is worth acquiring for their wonderfully slick A-Ronne alone." -The Guardian

"A-Ronne might be their (secular) bible: a half-hour A-Z of experimentation, devised in 1974 as a radio documentary, but also seen by Luciano Berio as a kind of madrigal...the textural kaleidoscope is fascinating. John Cage’s Story (1940) makes its Gertrude Stein textlet very catchy. Roger Marsh’s Not a Soul but Ourselves (1977) is a vivid, endearing treatment of passages from Finnegans Wake, and Cathy Berberian’s Stripsody (1966) is very 1960s." -The Sunday Times

The Independent on Sunday
Burps, sighs and coughs. Hisses, purrs and groans. Giggles, barks, polyglot whispers and the chaste-sexy shreds of madrigals and motets cast a spell in Theatre of Voices's performance of "A-ronne".

International Record Review
The work I was most pleased to encounter...was Roger Marsh's Not a Soul But Ourselves...It builds - or disintegrates - beautifully from the verbal theatre of Joyce's text to a beautifully simple, and simply beautiful, extended coda. Altogether a remarkable disc, with perfect recording quality.

The Arts Desk - Graham Rickson
This is excellent, goofy stuff, from the Roy Lichtenstein-inspired artwork to the immaculate production - listen through headphones and you can almost recreate the missing theatrical, visual element to several of these pieces...Full credit due to Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices, audibly having fun but never hamming things up too much.

The Cherwell
The pieces demand that the performers are not only vocalists but actors too, and it is in this respect which the Theatre of Voices excel. All of the performers fully engage with the dramatic personas of the texts...There is a real sense of dialogue, and each individual captures a sense of wonderment in the exploration of the percussive capacities of vowel sounds and how they combine to form words.

The Times
Experiments in vocal sound is inspired by texts, graphic designs and exerts from conversation - with arresting results...Paul Hillier's fearless vocal ensemble abandon conventionally notated music for a clamorous, diverting programme of 20th-century adventures in sound...Biggest and best is Luciano Berio's magisterial A-Ronne, an epic tapestry of texts, alphabet letters, cries and whispers

Classical Review
The standout work on this disc is Berio's A Ronne, an experimental yet consummate vocal ensemble piece, taking in a wide range of vocal techniques, while also exploring issues of language and meaning. The performances here are all first class. The Berio poses the greatest technical challenges, but all are executed with fluency and (apparent) ease. The balance and ensemble between the singers is always ideal, and the sound quality is great.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Garnisons Church, Copenhagen, Denmark (11/2009).



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Works Details

>Berio, Luciano [Composer] : A-Ronne, for 8 voices (SSAATTBB)
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 27 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1975

>Cage, John : Living Room Music :: A Story
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 4 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940

>MacLow, Jackson : Young Turtle Asymmetries, for voice or vocal ensemble
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 3 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1967

>Marsh, Roger : Not a Soul But Ourselves, for 4 amplified voices
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 14 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1977

>Frank, Sheldon : As I Was Saying, for voice & dancer
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 4 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1980

>Berberian, Cathy : Stripsody, for solo voice
  • Conductor: Paul Hillier
  • Running Time: 11 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1966