This is a compilation of first rate performances by performers for whom Berio composed these works: esp, Circles and Sequenza III for the great mezzo, Cathy Berberian, and the virtuoso trombonist, Vinko Glokobar. Included is Sequenza V, not IV, by the way. Listeners who are not familiar with these works and who find modern music after WW II to be off-putting -- amelodic, ametric, arhythmic, etc -- will be surprised by the wonderful melodic character of Circles (based on poetry by e. e. cummings) and the three Sequenzas on this CD. The over-riding character is what might be called "Italianate," with an emphasis on elegant melody -- not the melody of Verdi and Puccini, of course, but clear descendants of that tradition.
Circles is a lodestone piece of post-war music, as is also Boulez's Le Marteau sans maitre, in that many composers in the second half of the 20th century composed pieces for very similar ensembles, similar instrumentation. Berberian is fantastic in this recording -- or at least I think she is. One of the finest voices and finest performers of the century! (As an interpreter of text, she is one of the very best musical actors ever recorded.) If you do listen to her performance of Circles and like it, you will also like her earlier recording of Berio's Omaggio a Joyce, a work for Berberian and electro-acoustic music based on Molly's lament near the end of Joyce's Ulysses. This was the first work by Berio I heard, in about 1964!
Berberian was, of course, Berio's wife and Berio's muse.
Berio composed 14 Sequenzas, each for a different solo instrument. Each explores the melodic possibilities of each instrument in fresh ways. Each is a piece of theatre, as well. All three here, #I for flute, #III for mezzo-soprano, and #V for trombone, are excellently well performed -- these are definitive performances of these works. (Compare Tony Arnold's later recording of Sequenza III with that of Berberian's. Arnold's performance is quite good; Berberian's is astonishing!)
All in all, this is a valuable historical set of recordings. By the way, the liner notes include a longish article 11 pages) on Berio and his music by the composer Henri Pousseur, interesting reading, but it is auf Deutsch. The English and French language articles with similar titles are about 2 pages, each, and much less informative. If you read German, you will be enlightened by Pousseur's piece on Berio.
Circles / Sequenza 1,3 & 4 インポート
1. Circles - Cathy Berberian/Francis Pierre/Jean Pierre Drouet/Jean Claude Casadesus
2. Sequenza I - Aurele Nicolet
3. Sequenza III - Cathy Berberian
4. Sequenza V - Vinko Globokar