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Luigi Nono

Luigi Nono was born in Venice on 29 January 1924. From 1941 he took composition lessons with Gian Francesco Malipiero, which focussed on works of the 16th and 17th centuries and on the music of the Second Viennese School which was prohibited in Fascist Italy. In 1942, at the request of his family, Nono began to study law in Padua and graduated in 1946. That same year he met Bruno Maderna who gave him free composition lessons. His connection with the conductor Scherchen led to his exploration of the German music tradition.

In 1950 Nono first attended the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music which saw the world première of his Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell’op. 41 di Schoenberg. By using the twelve-note series from Schoenberg’s anti-Fascist Ode to Napoleon Op. 41, Nono, a member of the Italian Communist Party since 1952, referred to its political statement.

At the Hamburg performance of Schoenberg’s opera Moses und Aron he met Schoenberg’s daughter Nuria whom he married a year later. Possibly his best-known work, Il canto sospeso for soprano, alto and tenor solo, mixed choir and orchestra, was premiered in Cologne in 1956. In this work, Nono set farewell letters from Resistance fighter condemned to death. He intended to musicalize the texts by breaking the language up into syllables, thus making its musical content ready for composition.

In the following years, he worked as a teacher on the Darmstadt Summer Courses.

Despite the advanced tonal language, the political message was directed not only to the bourgeois audience. To Nono, it was important that his works were adopted by all social classes: To make sure that his works were understood by the Italian workers, Nono also used sounds and noises for his electronic compositions which he had recorded in factories.

The motif of wandering runs like a thread through his late works: First and foremost is the exploration of the sound and the process of its generation. The wandering of the sound through space, (for example by arranging loudspeaker around a room) opens the listener up to constantly new perspectives on what can be heard; the search becoming the essential goal of composing. In contrast to the strict serialism of Karlheinz Stockhausen, he achieved the combination of great subjectivity and rigid architectonics even in his late works. In 1990 Nono received the Berlin Arts Prize for Music. He died on 8 May of the same year.
Recommendation
In 1993, the Salzburg Festival presented Nono as a sound seeker in their series "Zeitfluss", focusing on Das atmende Klarsein (1980/81). 
The new Prometeo: "Nono in close-up: listen, be astonished, and enjoy." (Die Welt) Included in the Quarterly Critics’ Choice of the German Record Critics’ Award! 
Quando stanno morendo (1982)
and other Vocal works
Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart
Re-Release, finally available! 
Nono’s first work for orchestra, the Variazioni canoniche (1950) based on Schönberg, already comprises the bases of his late works, such as No hay caminos... (1987). 
From poetry to drama – Nono’s progress towards a "new modernism:" Das atmende Klarsein and Io, frammento da Prometeo in exemplary recordings. Finally available! 
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