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Continuo (author's note)

for orchestra (1989-1991)

Continuo is an Adagio, “distant and descriptive”. Its texture is rather light and airy and its structure is based upon a grid of recurrent modules. A continuous sound space - like a homogeneous surface - unfolds and is sporadically interrupted by large or small “windows” overlooking an ever-changing landscape.
While at work on Continuo, I was not consciously planning to create an architectural metaphor nor to pay musical homage to Chicago’s great masters: L. Sullivan, F. L. Wright and Mies van der Rohe. Nor was I aware of a direct reference to the airy yet solid constructions of Renzo Piano, to whose work I feel particularly close. Yet, as the work progressed, I realized this was actually happening. The internal musical processes of Continuo are indeed architectural, but the shape - the “form” some would say - is not. The modular criteria implicit in this work make Continuo a hardly habitable, a non-permanent, contradictory building: one that is virtually open to a continuous addition of new wings, rooms, and windows

Luciano Berio