Luigi Nono

LUIGI NONO (1924, Venice, Italy – 1990, Venice) He is ranked among the most distinguished founders of the post-war avant-garde, alongside Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis. He studied composition with Gian-Francesco Malipiero and completed his education with the conductor and composer Bruno Maderna; Maderna was to be a close friend for the rest of his life. He also graduated in law from Padua University. Nono’s first works, written between 1950 and 1953, are pointillistic, but the profound concentration of expression transcends the limitations of this style. Compositions including Polifonica-Monodica-Ritmica (1951), Epitaph auf Federico Garcia Lorca (1952 - 1953), La victoire de Guernica (1954), and Liebeslied (1954), dedicated to his wife Nuria (the daughter of Arnold Schoenberg), date from this first period. Incontri, for twenty-four instruments (1955), marks the composer’s principal confrontation with serialism. At first recognized mainly in Germany with works presented at the Darmstadt summer courses, he came to international attention in 1956 with the premiere of Il canto sospeso for solo voices, chorus and orchestra in Cologne. His political views, reflected in membership of the Italian Communist Party (which he joined in 1953), had a deep impact on many of his pieces. He was a member of the Akademie der Künste der DDR. From 1960 he focused mainly on electroacoustic music in the Studio di Fonologia Musicale della RAI (founded by Luciano Berio and Bruno Maderna) in Milan. In 1980 - 1985 Nono worked in the Freiburg Experimentalstudio of the Heinrich Strobel Foundation of South-West German Radio, and came to attach increasing importance to the roles of electroacoustic instruments that could transform sound over time.

Works (selection): Intolleranza 1960, stage action for solo voices, choir and orchestra (1960–1961), Al gran sole carico d’amore, opera (1972–1974), Prometeo, tragedia dell’ascolto for four instrumental groups, two sopranos, two contraltos, tenor, mixed choir, two actors and live electronics (1984), Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell’ op. 41 di Arnold Schoenberg for orchestra (1950), Polifonica – Monodica – Ritmica for chamber orchestra (1951), Composizione for orchestra (1951), Due espressioni for orchestra (1953), La victoire de Guernica for mixed choir and orchestra (1954), Liebeslied for mixed choir, harp and instrumental ensemble (1954), Canti per 13 for chamber orchestra (1955), Incontri for 24 instruments (1955), Il canto sospeso for solo voices, choir and orchestra (1955/56), Varianti for solo violin, arche e legni italiano (1957), Cori di Didone for mixed choir and percussion (1958), Omaggio à Emilio Vedova for tape (1960), Canti di vita e d’amore: Sul Ponte di Hiroshima for soprano, tenor and orchestra (1962), Canciones a Guiomar for solo soprano, female choir and instruments (1962–1963), Ricorda cosď ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz for tape (1966), Per Bastiana – Tai-Yang-Cheng for orchestra and tape (1967), Contrappunto dialettico alla mente for tape (1968), Musica-Manifesto No. 1: Un volto del mare – Non consumiamo Marx for voices and tape (1968–1969), Con Luigi Dallapiccola for six percussionists and live electronics (1979), Fragmente–Stille, an Diotima for string quartet (1979–1980), Guai ai gelidi mostri for two voices, flute, clarinet, tuba, viola, cello, double bass and live electronics (1983), Omaggio à György Kurtág for wind instruments and live electronics (1983), A Carlo Scarpa architetto, ai suoi infiniti possibili for orchestra (1984), A Pierre, dell’infinito azzurro silenzio, inquietum for double-bass flute, double-bass clarinet and live electronics (1985), Risonanze erranti for mezzo-soprano, flute, tuba, percussion and live electronics (1986), Caminantes ...Ayacucho for solo alto, flute, organ and orchestra (1986–1987), La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura for Gidon Kremer, live electronics, eight-channel tape and eight to ten music-stands (1987), ‘Hay que caminar’ sognando for two violins (1989).