Study score for Luciano Berio's 'Coro' for 10-part mixed choir (40 voices) and orchestra. Settings of poems from ‘Residencia en la tierra’ by Pablo Neruda.
From the composer:
There is, in addition to the folk element, a rather wide range of techniques. The general structure of the work is that of a substantial epic and narrative form made up of mostly self-contained and often contrasting episodes. The same text can occur several times with different music, or the same musical model can occur several times with different texts. Coro is also an anthology of different modes of ‘setting to music’, hence to be listened to as an ‘open project’ in the sense that it could continue to generate ever different situations and relationships. It is like the plan for an imaginary city which is realised on different levels, which produces, assembles and unifies different things and persons, revealing their collective and individual characters, their distance, their relationships and conflicts within real and ideal borders.
The specific placing of the singers and instruments on the concert podium (with a singer each sitting next to an instrumentalist) serves to enhance acoustically and visually the wide range of interaction among voices and instruments.
Of the different levels in Coro, the harmonic one is perhaps the most important; it is the work’s base but is at the same time its environment and its slowly changing landscape. A landscape, a sound base that generates ever different events (songs, heterophony, polyphony, etc), musical images engraved like graffiti on the harmonic wall of the city. The texts of Coro are set on two different and complementary levels: a folk level based on texts about love and work, and an epic level on a poem by Pablo Neruda (“Residencia en la Tierra”) which puts in perspective that very love and work.