8 voices, 4 clarinets and saxophone quartet

To the memory of Massimo Mila

Text excerpted from Edoardo Sanguineti’s Novissimum Testamentum.

Musically approaching Sanguineti’s late “anti-poetry” has become increasingly arduous and, probably for the same reason, more gratifying. One of the newest and most complex aspects of Sanguineti’s recent works is its simplicity. It is poetry inhabited by day-to-day images, sentimental stereotypes, harsh and bitter figures, ironic inventions, parodies, and references that unfold in a sort of echo chamber of the memory, in which the everyday and the universal, the banal and the speculative, the private and the political are melded together in a form that is both rigorous and at times unrelenting. My first experience with Sanguineti’s Novissimum Testamentum dates from 1988 and the composition of a short choral work. In this my latest attempt to musically penetrate the poem’s “simplicity,” I have tried to develop a memory echo chamber using distinct and parallel sound layouts. It is certainly a work in progress (I have only used a portion of the original text), constructed along modular lines and open to new developments.

Luciano Berio