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Sequenza III (author's note)

Sequenza III
for voice (1965)

The voice carries always an excess of connotations, whatever it is doing. From the grossest of noises to the most delicate of singing, the voice always means something, always refers beyond itself and creates a huge range of associations. In Sequenza III I tried to assimilate many aspects of everyday vocal life, including trivial ones, without losing intermediate levels or indeed normal singing. In order to control such a wide range of vocal behaviour, I felt I had to break up the text in an apparently devastating way, so as to be able to recuperate fragments from it on different expressive planes, and to reshape them into units that were not discursive but musical. The text had to be homogeneous, in order to lend itself to a project that consisted essentially of exorcising the excessive connotations and composing them into musical units. This is the “modular” text written by Markus Kutter for Sequenza III.

Give me a few words for a woman
to sing a truth allowing us
to build a house without worrying before night comes

In Sequenza III the emphasis is given to the sound symbolism of vocal and sometimes visual gestures, with their accompanying “shadows of meaning”, and the associations and conflicts suggested by them. For this reason Sequenza III can also be considered as a dramatic essay whose story, so to speak, is the relationship between the soloist and her own voice
Sequenza III was written in 1965 for Cathy Berberian.

Luciano Berio