Luigi Nono

Liebeslied (Love Song) for mixed choir and instruments (1954)

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Performed by the Wiener Jeunesse-Chor and the Wiener Philharmoniker, and conducted by Claudio Abbado, this piece was composed in 1954 for mixed choir and instruments. This five-minute work shows that twelve-tone composition, often noted for its dramatic expressionism, can also express feelings of gentle humor and tender love. The text, also written by Nono, is a love poem addressed to Arnold Schoenberg's daughter Nuria who married Nono the year after this piece was completed. Although an early work of the developing post-WWII serialist school, Nono avoids the Schoenberg-Webern use of the twelve-tone series possibilities of inversion, etc., and simply builds textures and fleeting melodic gestures on the basic row. The text of phrases and single words is itself distributed in fragments among the voices, where, for example the basses might complete a phrase or even a phoneme of a word that was begun by the sopranos. This technique occurs throughout much of Nono's vocal writing.

Likewise the instrumental writing for timpani, glockenspiel, vibraphone, harp and cymbals is pointillistic and without repeated rhythmic patterns in its texture. The musical effect is of a deep intimate feeling and of many textures of love and joy, not just the sentimental.