(orchestra and eight amplified voices)
"I have a present for you"
If you know me, you know of my general distaste for post-modern music with very few exceptions. This piece is one of those exceptions. The third movement is one of the first true musical mashups. But it works. It works so well. Berio doesn't leave any exposed seams when using all these bits of musical fabric. He is able to morph between moods, between keys, between textures flawlessly.
The third movement is so out of place in the larger structure of this piece that it should almost be its own piece. But, if it were it would probably be written off as simply an experiment gone awry. It needs the "serious" movements around it to give it depth (however, I think Berio was just as serious about the third movement as any other music he ever wrote). I think we have a different perception of the mashup today than people in the 70's. Today, a mashup is the easiest thing in the world to produce. It is mindless. It doesn't require the sort of craftsmanship and courage the Berio had when he wrote the movement. But, like so many other innovative pieces in the 20th century, it is a one-off. The idea of it, taking many works from the previous generations and using them to express your musical ideas, belongs to Berio. And I'm sure he took it from the visual art world. And the visual artists employing collage perhaps took it from the literary world such as Beckett or Joyce.
And you say - what about Ives? Ives was using quotation and collage long before Berio. What about Ives? I think Ives new just as well as anyone that he was better at selling insurance than writing music. Ives' music is clumsy and barbaric. For me, Ives never requires a second listen. Getting of topic...
Looking to other art forms or other parts of life for inspiration can lead to something musically innovative. Biology and the visual world have lately jumpstarted my creativity and welcomed new ideas. Anyway...
"Thank you, Mr. Boulez."