BERIO Coro. Cries of London (Version for 8 Voices)

Record and Artist Details

Genre:

Vocal

Label: BIS

Media Format: Super Audio CD

Media Runtime: 73

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: BIS2391

BIS2391. BERIO Coro. Cries of London (Version for 8 Voices)

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Coro Luciano Berio, Composer
Grete Pedersen, Conductor
Norwegian Radio Orchestra
Norwegian Soloists Choir
Cries of London Luciano Berio, Composer
Grete Pedersen, Conductor
Norwegian Soloists Choir

Just what was Berio trying to achieve in the meticulous, variegated, sensitive, texture-obsessed, micro/macro-experimental masterpiece for 40 voices and 40 instruments that is Coro? To get to the essence of a humane, passionate and multifaceted society is one slightly inadequate answer but the unceasing joy of this work is that there are so many more. Analysing a performance almost feels beside the point, as long as it’s a committed and accurate one.

This is that, and more. Two features stand out: first, its tendency to put a revealing slant on Berio’s particular form of expressionism by keeping it all-of a-piece – a single canvas; second, its prioritising of the composer’s interest in merging instruments and voices to the point where on occasion neither is identifiable as one or the other (notably in Berio’s held chords). There is a cool brightness to the textures, and presumably some added production given the size of the radio concert hall it was recorded in, but the moments of piercing light have a special radiance for all the veiled textures that surround them.

Pedersen achieves both through judicious matching of individual voices to each other and to instruments. There is little vocal grandstanding for all the excellence and expression on show (linguistically as well as musically). The performance is notable for its feeling of rolling on as if controlled by a higher force, with a sense of cumulative momentum coming to a head in the last five of the 31 linked songs.

Cries of London lets you in on the secret of how Pedersen achieved it all in the bigger piece, even though it uses only eight of her singers. This more madrigalian music sounds taut yet full of character and rooted in text, the singers as a single colonial organism as much as they were a huge community in Coro. Every time this excellent choir issues a new recording you wonder what will come next, but there hardly seems anywhere left after this.

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