Mention Luciano Berio and I immediately think of the human voice, and of one voice in particular – that of his first wife, Cathy Berberian. Expressive, beguiling and one-of-a-kind, Berberian was a vocal chameleon; at home in a range of styles from Monteverdi to pop, and of course the perfect vehicle for Berio’s eclectic creations.

One of the better known of these creations is Berio’s five-movement Sinfonia from 1968. Having left behind his interest in serialism,...

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