Journey through a unique world of sound

Luigi Nono:
Caminantes … Ayacucho

Luigi Nono: Trilogy of the Sublime

SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Ingo Metzmacher, Experimentalstudio des SWR, Schola Heidelberg, Cappella Amsterdam

You are looking at a performance from our archive

'There are no roads, there is only traveling'. This is an aphorism which Nono came across on one of the walls of a monastery in Toledo. He subsequently used it as a motto for a trilogy which he composed in the final years before his death, in which he experimented with the interplay between space and sound, the use of electronics and tape and the spatial organisation of large orchestrations with multiple choral and orchestral groupings. The Holland Festival presents two works from this trilogy, interspersed with short works by the Venetian renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli, whom Nono regarded as a musical forebear, because of his use of 'cori spezzati', spatially separated choirs. The programme will take the audience on a journey through a sublime universe of sound which alternates subtle pianissimo movements with ominous percussion and bass, violent outbursts and heavenly harmonies. Music to fire the imagination.
Programme Icoon

Background information

In 2014 it will have been 90 years since the Italian Luigi Nono (1924-1990) was born. He was one of the greatest European composers of his time. Almost a quarter of a century after his death, his music is seldom performed. Having organised similar projects dedicated to the music of Varèse (2009), Xenakis (2011) and Cage (2012), this year the Holland Festival honours Luigi Nono with a mini festival featuring, over the course of a long weekend, highlights from his extensive and varied body of work. As well as three full-scale concerts, there will also be an intimate late-night performance of La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura, a two-day conference entitled “… Hay que caminar …” - Luigi Nono’s musical paths between politics and art, and the exhibition Luigi Nono 1924–1990 - Maestro di suoni e silenzi, which will be accompanying the concerts held at the Gashouder. This year's annual free concerts in the underpass of the Rijksmuseum by conservatory students will be fully dedicated to Nono's music. Musical direction for the three central concerts at the Gashouder will be in the hands of the conductor and Nono expert Ingo Metzmacher. A very special highlight will be the contribution made by the Swiss composer, conductor and sound engineer André Richard, who worked in close collaboration with Nono for years and who gave his name to one of Nono's compositions, entitled André Richard.

One of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde, Nono, together with contemporaries such as Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, for years spearheaded the New Music movement. He also married Nuria Schönberg, daughter of Arnold Schönberg, the founder of twelve tone music. Still, the historical inevitability of serialism as advocated by the avant-garde, was never sufficient for Nono. Viewing music as a system which was not self-contained, Nono wanted his music to be open to the world from the start, looking for ways to change political consciousness through sound. To Nono, radical music could never stand on its own, but is always the inevitable outcome of radical, political ideas.

During the last ten years of his life, the physical space in which music is performed became increasingly important to Nono – which is evident in his approach of Prometeo. There is a long history of experiments with spatialising sources of sound; in Nono's city of birth, Venice, as early as the late 17th century composers such as Giovanni Gabrieli developed an advanced form of polychoral music, in which singers and musicians were placed in different parts of the San Marco cathedral. Gabrieli's technique of cori spezzati (literally, broken choirs) is an old precursor of Nono's sophisticated approach to the acoustic space, which will take centre stage on the concluding day of the Nono weekend.
After Prometeo, in the mid to late 1980's, Nono composed a number of works inspired by an aphorism which he had encountered written on one of the walls of a monastery in Toledo: ‘Caminantes, no hay caminos, hay que caminar’, meaning 'Travellers, there are no roads, there's only travelling'. From this series of works, Caminantes… Ayacucho (1986-87; performed at the Holland Festival 2008) and No hay caminos, hay que caminar... Andrej Tarkovskij (1987) will be performed, interspersed by parts from Gabrieli's Sacrae Symphoniae for cori spezzati. In these works, the space is an integral part of the music and the divide between audience and performers is blurred; the listener has become a traveller in time and space, an ear surrounded by sound.


Luigi Nono, Giovanni Gabrieli
Ingo Metzmacher (Nono), Daniel Reuss (Gabrieli)
spatial sound concept, head of sound direction
André Richard
Suzanne Otto
bass flute
Roberto Fabbriciani
Cappella Amsterdam (chorus master: Daniel Reuss)
Schola Heidelberg (chorus master: Walter Nußbaum)
performed by
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Experimentalstudio des SWR
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Experimentalstudio des SWR
thanks to
Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono ONLUS


Luigi Nono (1924-1990) began taking lessons in composition from Gian Francesco Malipiero in 1941. Central to these lessons were works from the 16th and 17th century, which left him with a lifelong fascination for polyphony, and for the music of the Second Viennese School, which was banned in Fascist Italy. In acquiescence to the wishes of his family, he went to Padua to study law, graduating in 1946. Meeting Bruno Maderna and the conductor Hermann Scherchen only increased his fascination for the music of Webern and Schönberg, and in 1950 he participated for the first time in the Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music. In the 1950s, he attended the courses in Darmstadt regularly, and between 1957 and 1960 also as a teacher; a number of his compositions had their premiere there. At a performance of Schönberg’s opera Moses und Aron in Hamburg, he met Schönberg’s daughter Nuria, whom he married in 1953. Nono joined the Communist Party in 1952 and a great many of his works have a political charge. As of 1960, he taught in Poland and the Soviet Union, among other places.
As his career progressed, he became increasingly interested in electronic music. Along with Boulez and Stockhausen, Nono is considered one of the most important representatives of the Darmstadt School, but unlike his two colleagues, he always took a great deal of freedom in applying the principles of serialism.

Giovanni Gabrieli (ca. 1555 – 1612) was a composer, organist and priest from Venice. Gabrieli is one of the most important composers of the Venetian school. He studied in Munich under Orlandus Lassus and worked for Duke Albert V at his court in Bavaria until the Duke’s death. In 1584, Gabrieli went back to Venice, where he became the head organist of the San Marco Basilica. After the death of his uncle, Andrea Gabrieli, he took over his task of chief composer of ceremonial music for the San Marco and for the Doge of Venice. In the Basilica, Gabrieli became a master at composing motets for double choir. ‘Cori spezzati’ is the name of a technique in which two choirs alternate to create an echo effect between them. Gabrieli further developed this technique (an early surround sound) in his collection of motets called Sacrae Symponiae (1597), in which different choirs and instruments succeed each other in an increasingly complex interplay of sounds. The Kyrie and Gloria from this collection of motets will be performed during the concert at the Holland Festival.

Ingo Metzmacher studied the piano, music theory and conducting in his home town of Hannover as well as in Salzburg and Cologne. The initial stages of his professional career took him first to Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, then to the Frankfurt Opera under Michael Gielen. His international career began in 1988 at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels during the Mortier era.
In 1997 he was appointed general music director of the Hamburg State Opera, where he conducted numerous internationally acclaimed performances during his eight-year tenure. He then became principal conductor of De Nederlandse Opera (Dutch National Opera) and, from 2007 to 2010, principal conductor and artistic director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Highlights of recent years have included his performances at the Salzburg Festival (including a performance of Nono's Prometeo), as well as at the Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, the Zurich Opera and the Berlin State Opera (performing Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore). He has also conducted concerts with leading orchestras that have included the Vienna, Berlin and Munich Philharmonics, the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, the Russian National Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Central to his commitments during the 2013-2014 season is a new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle in Geneva. Das Rheingold opened in March 2013 and will be followed by Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung and in May 2014 by two complete cycles. He is also continuing to work closely with the New Japan Philharmonic, the Czech Philharmonic, the Bamberg and Vienna Symphony Orchestras and the Orchestre de Paris. At the Holland Festival Metzmacher was the musical director for Dionysos (2011), Lulu and Wozzeck (both in 2005).

Daniel Reuss (1961) studied with Barend Schuurman at the Rotterdam Conservatory. Aged 21, he founded the Oude Muziek Koor (Choir for Old Music) in Arnhem. In 1990, he became director of Cappella Amsterdam, turning it into a full-time professional ensemble which is now one of the most sought after in the Netherlands.
From 2003 until 2006, Reuss was chief conductor of the RIAS Kammerchor in Berlin, recording a number of successful abums with them. Their CD with works by Martin and Messiaen (released by Harmonia Mundi) won the Preis der Deutsche Schallplattenkritik, the Echo Award, the Diapason d’Or and the Choc du Monde de la Musique.
Reuss regularly collaborates with leading ensembles and orchestras throughout Europe, including Akademie für Alte Musik in Berlin, MusikFabrik, Vocal Consort Berlin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2008 until 2013, Reuss has been chief conductor at the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, combining this post with his work as artistic leader of Capella Amsterdam. Daniel Reuss performs a repertoire which stretches from the year 1200 to the modern day, thereby showing himself to be a committed 'non-specialist'.

André Richard is a Swiss conductor, composer and performer of live electronic music. He studied singing, music theory and composition in Geneva, and later with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough in Freiburg. He advanced his studies in electronic music with Hans Peter Haller at the SWR Experimental Studios in Freiburg and at IRCAM in Paris. His works have been performed at international music festivals in Budapest, Frankfurt, Oslo, Essen and many more. As well as teaching in Geneva and Freiburg he was also for a long time the Head of the Freiburg Institute for New Music and the organiser of the concert series Horizonte. From 1984 until 2005 he was artistic leader of the Freiburg Solo Choir. In the 1980's Richard collaborated closely with Luigi Nono as a conductor and sound director on the performances of his later works. As a conductor Richard has performed at international festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, the Festival d’Avignon and the Holland Festival. From 1989 to 2005 he was the artistic director of the Experimentalstudio of the SWR's Heinrich-Strobel Foundation.
For the Salzburg Festival Richard has contributed to a great many legendary performances, including Nono's Prometeo in 1993, for which he realised the spatial sound concept and acted as sound director.
Later productions he was artistically involved in were Lachenmann's Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (2002) and two works by Stockhausen. With Irvine Arditti he opened the Venice Biennial in October 2013 performing Sockhausen's Helikopter-Streichquartett, In the course of his career Richard has received many prizes.

Susanne Otto is a German alto, born in Ansbach, in the heart of Bavaria. After graduating, she went on to study flute and singing at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg. During her studies she started her career as a singer of oratorios and recitals. She also focused on contemporary music, and in 1983 got to know the composer Luigi Nono, who wrote several of his later works especially for her deep alto voice, including Caminantes... Ayacucho and Prometeo. She has worked as a soloist in numerous performances, including many premieres, of works by composers like Wolfgang Rihm, Klaus Huber and Pierre Boulez, led by such renowned conductors as Claudio Abbado, Michael Gielen and Ingo Metzmacher. Her performance venues include Konzerthaus Wien, La Scala in Milan, the Festival d’Automne in Paris, the Berliner Festwochen and the Venice Biennale. In 1995 and 1997, she performed at the Salzburger Festspiele and made her debut in Carnegie Hall in 1999, with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Abbado. Otto’s repertoire as a singer of recitals comprises many different musical styles and eras. Besides contemporary music, she also sings pieces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and works by composers ranging from Bach to Verdi. She sometimes makes an excursion into jazz and pop music as well. In recent years, she has also worked regularly with ensembles specialised in early music (the Balthasar-Neumann-Chor and the Freiburger Barockorchester) and in new music (Ensemble Recherche and Ensemble Modern).

The Italian flutist Roberto Fabbriciani is one of the great contemporary virtuosos on his instrument. He was born in 1949 in Arezzo and at a young age became a member of the orchestras of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Fabbriciani is known as a creative innovator who has considerably expanded the possibilities of the flute.
In the 1970’s, he was part of the circle of musicians around composer Luigi Nono, with whom he blazed new musical trails, some of took place at the Experimentalstudio of the SWR in Freiburg. An inspired performer of new music, Fabbriciani has worked in a comparably intensive manner since then with countless other composers, including Berio, Boulez, Cage, Kurtág, Ligeti, Messiaen, Stockhausen and Takemitsu. The works that they have written for him are some of the most important in the contemporary flute repertoire. Throughout his career, Fabbriciani has played at almost all of the great international festivals, such as those of Venice, Donaueschingen, Berlin, Lucerne, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Vienna and Tokyo. As a soloist, he has performed with renowned orchestras, including the Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the RAI Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of conductors like Claudio Abbado, Luciano Berio, Ernest Bour, Riccardo Chailly, Peter Eötvös, Bruno Maderna, Diego Masson, Ingo Metzmacher and Riccardo Muti. Fabbriciani taught at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. His playing can be heard on countless CDs.

Ever since its founding, the vocal ensemble Schola Heidelberg, conducted by Walter Nußbaum, has bridged the gap between early and new vocal music. Up to 16 soloists constituting the ensemble command highly varied styles and vocal techniques, including microtonal intonation, vocal and breathing noises. Crossing sixteenth and seventeenth century works with material from the twentieth and twenty-first century - always outside of the standard repertoire - they create an intense relationship between historically informed performance practice and contemporary music, leading to new forms of interpretation. In close contact with leading composers of our times, including Heinz Holliger, Helmut Lachenmann, Caspar Johannes Walter, Jan Kopp, Hans Zender, Carola Bauckholt and Erik Oña, Schola Heidelberg has a broad repertoire and regularly commissions new work.
Since 1993, Schola Heidelberg has had a close working relationship with the instrumental ensemble Aisthesis. As well as in its own concert series in Heidelberg, Schola Heidelberg also regularly appears at festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, Venice Biennial, the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik and the Tongyeong International Music Festival in Korea. The ensemble works with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern and many other leading orchestras.
Schola Heidelberg has recorded many award winning CDs, including recordings with works by Helmut Lachenmann. Recent albums include Gérard Grisey's Les chants de l’amour on KAIROS and Lachenmann's NUN on Ensemble Modern Media. The recording of Helmut Lachenmann’s Les Consolations was voted on the German Record Critics' best-of list in 2009. A CD with works by René Leibowitz has been released recently.

Cappella Amsterdam was established by Jan Boeke in 1970 and has, since 1990, been under the artistic leadership of Daniel Reuss. In recent years the choir has occupied a prominent position in the field of Dutch music and has also enjoyed great success in Europe and beyond. Cappella Amsterdam has thus played a vital role in the European Tenso Network of choirs.
Cappella Amsterdam is renowned for it’s homogenous, refined consonance and its extraordinary versatility. The choir excels in both modern repertoires as in music by the old masters and especially embraces the works of Dutch composers.
Not only does Cappella enjoys success with her own productions but also through collaborations with other renowned choirs, ensembles and orchestras. Harmonia mundi has released several CDs by Cappella Amsterdam, which have all been received with praise. Lux Aeterna, for instance, which included works by Görgy Ligeti and Robert Heppener, was crowned with the Diapason d’Or de l’année 2009. The productions of Sweelinck and Frank Martin’s Golgotha (released by the same label in 2010) also welcomed rave revues.
In November of 2009 Cappella Amsterdam won the VSCD Klassieke Muziekprijs in the category ‘most impressive achievement of a small (chamber) ensemble’. The choir has again been recognised in 2010 and was been shortlisted for the Amsterdam prize for the Arts, the Edison Classical Listeners award and the VSCD Classical Music award. For a recording of Martin's Golgotha, conducted by Daniel Reuss, the choir was nominated together with the Estonian Philharmonic Orchestra for a Grammy for best choral performance.

The SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra always makes room for new movements, guests and pieces of music – in their own hometowns, as well as in cities like Berlin, Lucerne and Madrid. Conducted by François-Xavier Roth, the orchestra toured Japan in 2012 with great success. The starting signal for Roth’s appointment as principal conductor was given at the final concert of the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2011. Since the foundation of the Donaueschinger Musiktage in 1950, this event has been inextricably linked to the SWR Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra has premiered around four hundred compositions at the event, and the musicians have written music history with works by composers like Hans Werner Henze, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Helmut Lachenmann and Wolfgang Rihm. But the orchestra does not only focus on contemporary music. Its repertoire includes over six hundred works spanning three centuries. The SWR Symphony Orchestra has worked with international conductors and soloists ever since its foundation in 1946. The driving forces behind the orchestra’s various activities have been, and still are the remarkable principal conductors Hans Rosbaud, Ernest Bour, Michael Gielen and Sylvain Cambreling. They have led and formed an orchestra that, through sixty years of exceptional challenges, has achieved a flexibility seldom seen anywhere else. These exceptional challenges include numerous projects for children and young people. The summer of 2013 revolved around a music theatre production that formed the closing highlight of a three-year collaboration with three schools in Freiburg. For its services to ‘a lively contemporary music culture’, the SWR Symphony Orchestra was awarded the Ehrenpreis 2013 der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. The orchestra also received the award for ‘the best concert programme of 2013/2014’ from the Deutscher Musikverlegerverband.

The Experimentalstudio of the SWR (Southwest Radio) in Freiburg was founded in 1971, and in the meantime it has become so famous that it would be impossible to imagine the contemporary music scene without it. The aim of the studio is to unite art and technology in a continual interplay, with electronic compositions been realized by the collaborative efforts of composers and technicians. The Experimentalstudio is therefore fully manned by a permanent team of technical specialists, while the Heinrich Strobel Foundation offers grants to composers who want to either broaden their artistic and technological horizons in general or work on a compositional project in particular.
The Experimentalstudio has its own ensemble, which regularly gives concerts in major festivals like those of Berlin, Vienna and Salzburg, the Festival d’Automne in Paris and the Venice Biennale and in famous music theatres like the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Carnegie Hall in New York and De Munt in Brussels.
Pioneering works in the history of electronic music have been realized in the Experimentalstudio by composers like Boulez, Stockhausen, Ferneyhough, Globokar and Nono. A younger generation of composers is represented by Mark Andre, Chaya Czernowin, José María Sánchez-Verdú, Johannes Maria Staud, among others. Musicians who have worked at length in the Experimentalstudio include Maurizio Pollini, Claudio Abbado, Gidon Kremer, Irvine Arditti and Roberto Fabbriciani. In 1999, a box of CDs was published in honour of the Experimentalstudio’s 25th anniversary, providing an overview of the most important works, old and new, that have been realized there.

This performance was made possible with support by