Luciano Berio - Sequenzas (1999)

Berio began his ongoing series of Sequenze to explore the maximum sound production capabilities of solo instruments in the hands of virtuosos. to say he succeeded is an understatement; these are widely considered to be among the most difficult pieces ever written. a lot of performers refuse to play them, citing horror stories of bloodied fingers, torn muscles, and near asphyxiation. if you play an instrument featured here, odds are you will be blown away by the level of musicianship; and if you don't, check out the guitar (XI), female voice (III), piano (IV), or viola (VI, my fave) for a bit of reference. they just SOUND hard.

since each Sequenza features only 1 instrument, this is a great place to start if you're interested in understanding just how modern techniques/style have altered the avant-garde in the last 40 years. these pieces are aggressively modern, but since the real goal here is exploring timbre, you can sort of let Berio's insane sound world and the ridiculous virtuosity wash over you.

don't try this at home

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3 Responses so far.

  1. Paul says:

    Being a bassoonist, Sequenza XII blew my mind right out of my skull. Thank you for such a great album!

  2. ill! says:

    XII is crazy. performed by Pascal Galois, for my money the best bsn-ist in modern music and an awesome dude in general

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