The high and low art of singing:
Louis Andriessen leaves Musicology and chooses the perspective of the young composer who went to Milano to study with Luciano Berio, where he played cards a lot, learnt to know Berio’s wife, accompanied Cathy B. at the piano and became close friends with her. The letters in his personal archive testify of her personal and professional struggles in the last decade of her life and of her warm and brilliant personality.
Andriessen will focus on important facts of Berberian’s musical life, such as her marriage to Berio, Berio’s works written for her and her own repertoire. In a time when different musical genres were far apart and musical hierarchies and opinions were strongly held, she found and took an enormous freedom, performing Kurt Weill, the Beatles, Jacques Offenbach, and other fringe composers.
Part of Andriessen’s contribution will be devoted to the birth of Berio's Folk Songs. This top hit of new music is the result of Berio’s and Berberian’s ideological and musical collaboration. Andriessen joined in as a student assistant, writing down the Azerbaijan Love Song which closes the collection.
Andriessen does not share the musical ideology from which the piece emerges. The piece is a good specimen of Berberian’s objectives and of her creative influence on Berio. Her voice kept inspiring him, and many other composers.
As an American born from an Armenian family, she never left her roots, singing Armenian songs and spreading the sense for anti-hierarchy she took to Europe from the New World, breaking through all kinds of musical borders.
Finally, Andriessen considers the grand solo recitals as examples of Berberian’s ideas and personality, and as the ultimate collaboration between her and Berio.