Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Altmann, Peter. Sinfonia von Luciano Berio: Eine analytische Studie. Vienna: Universal Edition, 1977.

In the third movement of his Sinfonia, Berio uses collage on three levels. (1) The Scherzo ("Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt") from Mahler's Second Symphony, of which the proportions remain essentially the same, makes up the structural basis. The addition stresses the proportional importance of the fateful number eleven standing for imperfection, which in turn is related to the meaning of Mahler's scherzo. (2) In the course of the whole movement, Berio quotes composers from Bach through Stockhausen, and while we recognize some of the quotations immediately, others can hardly be perceived. (3) The text consists of passages from Beckett's novel The Unnamable interspersed with words by Joyce, expression marks, political slogans, and phonetic material. Mahler's music implies the quotations on the second level, be it tonally (Berio even changed some notes for tonal reasons), motivically (the minor second functions as a central motive), programmatically, or by instrumentation. Even the disposition of the text follows Mahler and it is often only through the text that we can identify musical quotations. This kind of collage therefore does not destroy but reinterprets the "Fischpredigt." The study includes some didactic suggestions.

Works: Mahler: Symphony No. 2; Berio: Sinfonia.

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Andreas Giger

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