This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bruno Maderna
(Venice, 1920 – Darmstadt, 1973).
He studied composition under Gian Francesco Malipiero, and conducting under Herman Scherchen. Maderna was intensely dedicated to the spreading of avant-garde music culture. As a performer and conductor, he performed many foreign and Italian premieres. As a composer, he was among the first in Italy to use dodecaphonic and serial approaches in highly advanced forms.
We’d like to celebrate this milestone through the words that Luigi Nono
wrote in 1973, upon the death of his friend, in the pages of The Music Chronicle, Ricordi’s news outlet.
Bruno Maderna was human generosity to the utmost. It showed in his self-assured determination, which was ever cheerful even throughout the hardest of times – including a serious illness – and the way he made music, the way he was music, the way he got everyone involved in music. And along with music, there was also his lively intelligence, and the knack he had for opening up perspectives, where music penetrates with new technical and expressive means, as well as new compositional methods. This can only happen when a man lives as a subject of his time, and strives to reach out toward his fellow man. Bruno lived that way, and continues to live.
His very nature led him to arouse, to provoke, to spur enormous development in today’s music. He was dedicated to his teaching, which was always propelling and dialectical for all the young people he worked with. He taught music in such a way that together, he and his students discovered it anew every time. He was also one of those rare, unforgettable performers. Indeed, Bruno Maderna continues to be admired and loved by orchestras, soloists, composers, and thousands and thousands of people. Through him, those people have gained direct access to the living reality of music – lucid in its meanings, in its structure, in its function.
In London, for what would be his last concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, one week prior to his death, from one rehearsal to the next, all the way to a stellar performance of Bartók’s Concerto No. 1 for piano and orchestra, and Schönberg’s Concerto for piano and orchestra, Bruno gave himself over, to the admiration of everyone in attendance, once again with clear-headed serenity, to his very reason for existing, as he combatted his illness. And Bartók and Schönberg stood firmly, ideally, and humanely behind him.
Now Bruno Maderna rests in peace, along with his beloved Andrea Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi, and G. F. Malipiero.
Selection from his catalogue
Aura for orchestra
WP: Chicago, March 23, 1972 - Bruno Maderna, cond.
Biogramma for large orchestra
WP: Rochester, Eastman School of Music, April 1972 - Bruno Maderna, cond.
Concerto for violin and orchestra
WP: Venice, XXXII International Contemporary Music Festival, September 12, 1969 - Bruno Maderna, cond.; Theo Olof, vl.
*Concerto n° 3 for oboe and orchestra
WP: Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, Holland Festival, March 1973 - Bruno Maderna, cond ; Hans de Vries, ob.
Giardino religioso for small orchestra
WP: Tanglewood Festival 1972 - Bruno Maderna, cond.
Grande aulodia for solo flute and oboe with orchestra
WP: Roma, Auditorium RAI, February 7, 1970 - Bruno Maderna, cond.; Severino Gazzelloni, fl; Lothar Faber, ob.
Juilliard Serenade for orchestra
WP: New York, Juilliard Ensemble, 1971
(1971 - 1973)
WP: Scheveningen, Holland Festival, March 1973 - Bruno Maderna, cond.
Venetian Journal for tenor, 22 instruments and tape "ad libitum"
Text by J. Boswell
WP: New York, Lincoln Center, March 12, 1972 - Bruno Maderna, cond.; Paul Sperry, t.
* Ed. Salabert (UMPC Group)
Listen to Bruno Maderna's works
Peruse the scores
View playlist on nkoda
Image: © Casa Ricordi, Milano