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Cathy Berberian invented the new vocal techniques, 'la nuova vocalità'. She unsettled encroached conservative conceptions by sheer individuality, talent and ability. Her capacities as an actress were as dazzling as her musicianship, according to Peter Brooke with whom she worked.

She shook free Monteverdi from years of dust and reached across centuries of répertoire to the avant-garde of her day, ennobling Kurt Weil, Folk Music and The Beatles en passant.

Cathy was a true multiartist with a comparativist perspective and philosophy, the centrepin of which was:

There is no division between the Arts -- there is good and there is bad; nothing else!

She appreciated all genres of music and art inside a multi-disciplinary concept. To be aware, to appreciate, to be forever inquisitive upon a deeper level of study and social history were her prerequisites for work within every discipline. She acted, translated, composed, researched brilliant programmes and filed her work in a pre-computer age inside her head and paper folders.

Cathy Berberian's rightful place as Muse to the evolution of Music in the second half of the twentieth century is yet to be fully appreciated.

Copyright © 6 March 2008 Jennifer I Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


Cathy Berberian and Music's MusesJennifer Paull's new book Cathy Berberian and Music's Muses, written specially to herald this 25th anniversary, is available from Amoris Imprint.

The following articles by the same author have all been published at M&V: A Musical Enchantress (March 2002), A Musical Columbus (July 2005), Never Knowingly Misunderstood (August 2005), Legacy (October 2005) and High Jinx and Haute Couture (July 2006).

For further information about Cathy Berberian, visit Cathy Berberian: The Official Website

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