Granted, this double-disc set of Luigi Nono's complete works for solo tape is not for everyone, and even the stalwart few who thrive on electronic music from the mid-twentieth century may find it a little difficult to appreciate. Yet despite his reputation as one of the more extreme modernists, Nono was also one of the most lyrical of the European serialists; his tape pieces often feature singing, though always modified through reverberation, splicing, looping, and other techniques of musique concrète. Works such as Musiche di scena per Ermitlung (1965) and Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz (1966) are haunted with vocalizations that float in and out of the thickets of generated sounds like phantoms; and in Contrapunto dialettico alla mente (1967-1968) and Für Paul Dessau (1974), they also give Nono's music the raw flavor of radical political theater. But Nono's innovative explorations of his electronic sources are equally significant, and the layered pitches and slow evolution of sounds -- found in virtually all of these pieces, but most clearly in Musiche per Manzù (1969) -- in some ways anticipate the ambient electronica to come later in the century. These pieces are presented in mixes Nono prepared for radio transmission; consequently, they lack the full range and depth of the original concert tapes he made. This is regrettable, since the reduction diminishes much of the texture and spatial orientation of the multi-track tapes, and the music occasionally sounds boxy and dry. The spoken parts of the radio broadcasts fill up most of the second disc, so unless the listener is fluent in Italian, these tracks may be skipped.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2