It is indivisible from its gestures. The task is to entrust the sense of the musical action to the specific abilities of the protagonists, to give them the possibility of defining for themselves the conditions through which eventuality is transformed into reality, before the eyes of the listener, in the hearing of the viewer. In Circles the possibilities are enlarged by the presence of the words, Nos. Poems 25 and 76 appear twice, in different moments of the musical development.

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License for scenic performances incl. Circles develops musically three poems by e. In Circles the three poems are arranged in the following order: , I had no intention of writing a series of vocal pieces with harp and percussion accompaniment; rather, I was interested in elaborating the three poems in a circular way so that a unified form resulted, where the different levels of meaning, the vocal action and the instrumental action would strictly condition each other, even on the plane of phonetic qualities.

The theatrical aspects of the performance are inherent in the structure of the work itself which is, above all, a structure of actions: to be listened to as theatre and to be viewed as music. In this sense, the text is a base line from which everything can be derived and to which everything can be traced back. Circles is the result of a convergence between a type of literature that since the beginning of the century "Finnegans Wake" would be an extreme case has achieved a "musical" autonomy and an explosion of traditional forms and a type of music which attempts, by means of the structures of spoken language, to win back the characteristics of all language, whether musical or linguistic.

Jacques Demierre Luciano picked out three poems by Cummings and asked me to read them as I wanted to, paying attention to the particular distribution of the text, the unusual word breaks, and the capital letters that emphasized certain sounds.

Then he wrote out the relationship between me and the instrumentalists, who were to produce sounds similar to the word that I was pronouncing, and I was to adjust the sound of the spoken word to the sound of the instruments. For example, the word "sting-" at the beginning corresponds exactly to the sound of the harp. This was a completely new kind of interaction for me, a kind of permanent exchange, an extraordinarily stimulating challenge.

Cathy Berberian.


Berio Circles

II - riverly is a flower III - n o w IV - riverly is a flower V stinging -female voice, harp and two percussionists -detailed instructions for placement of instruments when performed. One of the first uses of aprox pitch. Similar to 8 songs for a mad kind, the sounds created but the singer are extremely theatrical. Some may think that performances of pieces of this style may not be vocally demanding.


Luciano Berio


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