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Tempi concertati (author's note)

Tempi concertati
for flute, violin, two pianos and four orchestral groups (1958-1959)

The “sound families” of an instrumental ensemble do not necessarily coincide with the “instrumental families”. On the contrary, the sound families appear to create analogies exactly where the instrumental families (to be quite clear, those of the instrumentation text-books) create differences and oppositions. Tempi concertati can be regarded precisely as a development of analogies of sound characters and not as oppositions of instrumental characters.
Concertati, because the relation between individual tempo (of the soloists, and above all of the flute) and collective tempo (of the four small instrumental groups) is not always given: sometimes it must be prearranged and coordinated by the individual performers, on the basis of a repertory of signals (real gestures or elements of the musical structure) which implies on the part of each performer constant and careful attention to the others. It is a question of “perceived” signals in the widest sense of the word: they can act by their presence and also by their absence, creating continuous interferences between individual and collective action.
These oscillations between tempo and actions, both individual and collective, between compulsory actions and relatively indeterminate ones, between signals given and signals received, “lost” and “recovered”, may give to the composition the discontinuous character of improvisation.
Tempi concertati, commissioned by the NDR Orchestra of Hamburg, was composed in 1958-1959.

Luciano Berio