The Making of a Lecture Recital

Douglas and I performed  Lecture Recital during the Biennial International Conference “Music Since 1900” at Liverpool Hope University. Our lecture recital was the result of many months of work on materials related to Recital I , a short snippet of which was also featured in our presentation. In particulr, I worked on the musicological background researching primry sources and extant evidence of the compostion, while Doug worked creatively on an original score inspired by Berio’s setting. Brainstorming and rehearsals took place in Christchurch, where Doug lives and teaches, and at University of Southampton, where Doug and I first met as PhD students. Our presentation in Liverpool was very well-received, and we had very encouraging feedback from a very specialised audience. We also met numerous colleagues form other institutions embarked in exciting projects.

Here is the abstract of our lecture recital:

Lecture-Recital : ‘One-Woman’s Act’: Cathy Berberian’s and Luciano Berio’s Recital I (for Cathy) (1972).

 In 1959, the Darmstadt premiere of John Cage’s Aria marked the starting point of a vocal revolution.  As the dedicatee, performer and, to some extent, co-author of the work, Cathy Berberian later recalled: “Everyone was astonished by the possibilities of the voice.”  A generation of young composers impressed by the full gamut of her vocal and performance abilities began to write expressly for Berberian.  In her work, the singer created an authoritative rapprochement between the theoretically separated realms of composition and performance.  First, Berberian directed the composer’s hand and assisted him in moulding the written work to reflect her histrionic and vocal skills.  Then, her imaginative interpretation of the work extended the creative act well beyond the work of the composer himself, taking it all the way to the concert platform.

In the year celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Berberian’s death (1983) and the tenth of Luciano Berio’s (2003), this lecture-recital focuses on their collaborative contribution to Recital I (for Cathy) by Luciano Berio.  By basing my research on unedited primary sources such as its autograph score and numerous performance scores in Berberian’s hand, I will reconstruct its making and performance practices.

Thus, I aim to offer a broader perspective on performance and composition, and to shift the accent of research traditionally focused on the composer’s act, to Berberian’s dynamic role in the creation of the works she premiered, hence assigning to the performer’s creativity a diverse but equal weight compared to the composer’s in the compositional process.
It takes newly arranged music…

… and artists skilfully arranging and playing it: Douglas Gould.

Liverpool Hope University-Creative Campus
Liverpool Hope University-Creative Campus

It takes traveling to places

Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus

… and enjoying the view from time to time…

It takes practicing and getting ready on all possible levels…

Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

… and exploring the venue of the show.

It takes rehearsing and getting used to the stage

… and being there on the day of the performance!

… and finally smile once it is all over!