Review - Berio: Sequenzas

Artist: Ensemble InterContemporain

Berio: Sequenzas
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Berio: Sequenzas

They don't call the old masters "old masters" for nothing. But the development of classical music has never stopped, and composer Luciano Berio occupies an important point along that ever-extending line. Listening to his scores can seem difficult to the uninitiated, but "Berio: Sequenzas" is probably as accessible as his stuff is ever going to get. Certainly the individual pieces that make up the whole are important for the demands they make upon the musicians playing them, but there is also an approachable musicality to these 13 works for diverse solo instruments (and one duo for trumpet and "piano resonance").

Make no mistake, this music can be thorny at times, but there are also moments of austere beauty that will reward those with an open mind. This new three-disc set brings together all the "Sequenzas" for the first time ever and includes two world-premiere recordings. The various soloists from the Ensemble InterContemporain are joined by some talented adjuncts for this project, including guitarist Eliot Fisk, soprano Luisa Castellani (yes, the voice is an instrument), trumpeter Gabriele Cassone and accordionist Teoforo Anzellotti.