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Sinfonia. Eindrucke/Boulez, Orch. National…
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Sinfonia. Eindrucke/Boulez, Orch. National de France

by Luciano Berio

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The Sinfonia sets texts of graffiti written during the revolutionary "Paris spring" of 1968. They are sung (really scat-sung) by the Swingle Singers over an arrangement of the third movement of Mahler's Second Symphony, which is overdubbed with fragments of masterpieces of twentieth-century music from Strauss to Boulez. In its many-layered stylistic collage the Sinfonia is a brilliant technical tour de force, a huge Joycean funeral pyre for the stringent aesthetic of modernism, out of which rises the eclecticism of the postmodern.

While theorchestra plays a Mahler scherzo, the Swingle Singers speak in several languages, on divergent subjects, at various tempos, in many moods. The overall effect is enormously powerful. The result is not chaos but rather a striking comment on the multiplicity, density, variousness of our world - on the way we must take meaning not from the sense of any one local phrase but from the overall movement of the whole.
  antimuzak | Dec 9, 2008 |
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