Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

 

<<  -- 2 --  Jennifer I Paull    CATHY BERBERIAN - NEVER KNOWINGLY MISUNDERSTOOD

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Berio lived over twenty more years; time for several generations of musicians to grow knowing the Great Master without his being accompanied by Cathy as a visible and thus far, insufficiently honoured accomplice. The model, for whom the haute-écriture creations had been tailor-made, was no more.

Cathy Berberian. Photo © Publifoto Genoa
Cathy Berberian. Photo © Publifoto Genoa

Nevertheless, she who had once uniquely filled their contours (designed to fit her individual capacities), remains by the very existence of those compositions. The imaginative awareness and ideas she brought, in their turn, affected Berio's other works. She did not so much open doors to him as unveil galaxies.

'Cathy Berberian's career is unlike any other. One of the greatest singers of the last fifty years grew and flourished outside the clichés of role casting, international productions, gala soirées at the Met or Covent Garden, rumour spreading to a thirsty gossip press, a peppering of intrigue. You could hardly call her a typical "Diva" ...' Marie Christine Vila -- foreword to Cathy Berberian, Cant'actrice

Cathy was not 'simply' a musician. She was as much an actress: a devourer of words, books, theatre and cinema screen, costume and design, dance and folklore, as she was the vessel for her incredible voice. Her polyglot culture was amazingly rich and full, ranging from the classics to Schulz' Peanuts cartoons in multi-disciplinary liberation: a true polyhistor.

Armenian constume researched, designed and created by Cathy Berberian. Photo courtesy of Cristina Berio
Armenian constume researched, designed and created by Cathy Berberian. Photo courtesy of Cristina Berio

'All know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.' -- Kabir, reformer, poet (late 15th century)

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Copyright © 18 August 2005 Jennifer I Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland

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