Berlin-based Orchestras

Berliner Philharmoniker / Sir Simon Rattle

Folk Songs III

Past Dates

The foreign makes us prick up our ears. Giovanni Battista Pergolesi fascinated Stravinsky – but not for the legends that had sprung up around this prematurely deceased composer, nor solely for the “preclassical” qualities of his compositions, so amenable to rearrangement in Neoclassical terms, but instead and in particular for its Spanish-exotic undertones, the bedrock from which Pergolesi’s music drew its strength. Stravinsky arrived at his final decision in favour of Pulcinella when he experienced the Neapolitan descendent of the Commedia dell’Arte at first hand “in a small, crowded room that reeked of garlic. Pulcinella was a great clown, and every one of his movements, and perhaps every word, was obscene.”

The inspiration for Luciano Berio’s Coro came from Africa, from the music of the Banda Linda. “In groups of approximately forty, the members of the tribe blow on long, wooden reeds, each of which generates an individual tone. The tones are repeated with occasional variations according to a rhythmic module. When all of the players blow into their instruments, the result is a total overall sound that is entirely new – at least to Western ears. It is at once complex and ordered; something between a cathedral of sound and a relentless musical machine. I wanted to extend the principle and the idea to other musical aspects and cultures.” Coro is the result of these reflections on the Banda Linda experience, a rotation and a metamorphosis of materials derived from highly divergent cultural traditions.

Concert Programme

Luciano Berio [1925–2003]
for 40 voices and instruments [1975/76, rev. 77]
with song texts by the Sioux, Navajo, Zuni, from Polynesiy, Peru, Kroatia, Venice, the Piedmont, from Chile and with verses by Pablo Neruda

Igor Stravinsky [1882–1971]
dance comedy for mimes and singers with orchestra [1919/20]
after music and singing pieces by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi based on a Commedia dell’arte libretto
in concerto form


Stella Doufexis mezzo soprano
Burkhard Ulrich Ttenor
Ildebrando d’Arcangelo bass

Rundfunkchor Berlin
James Wood coach

Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle conductor

An event of the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker in cooperation with musikfest berlin | Berliner Festspiele