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Concertino (author's note)

for clarinet, violin, harp, celesta and strings (1950)

I composed Concertino while I was still studying at the Conservatory in Milan with Giorgio Federico Ghedini. I remember the deep impression Ghedini’s instrumental music made on me in those years, and it is therefore inevitable that its impact has filtered into my Concertino.
But there is also something else behind Concertino: I was born in a small town in Italy near the French border, far from the so-called cultural centres. There I lived until the age of eighteen, studying and learning everything I could about my heritage. I never felt regretful nor underprivileged by living in a provincial town, but I felt injured and angry when, in 1945, with the end of Fascism, I realized the extent and the depth of the cultural deprivation that it had imposed upon me. That same year (I was already twenty) for the first time in my life I was able to hear the music of Schoenberg, Milhaud, Hindemith, Bartók, Webern, etc.- that is, the real voices of my European heritage. These composers, and others as well, had previously been forbidden by Fascist “cultural politics”. The impact was traumatic to say the least, and it took me at least five years to recover from it. I believed, and still do, that the best way to deal with traumatic experiences is to cope with them to the end and, if possible, to exorcize them on their own ground.
These are the premises of Concertino, written in 1950. It was one of my last exorcisms of the experiences and encounters of those years and, I think, my last tribute to them.

Luciano Berio