By the same authors

Bergman's Modernism: Colours & Improvisations; coherence & integration

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review



Publication details

DatePublished - 26 Sep 2011
Original languageEnglish


Bergman’s Colori ed improvvisazioni, Op.72 (1973) is seen as a highly significant work in his output as it initiates a second stylistic era for the composer, after the predominance of choral music. A special balance between freedom and control – the controlled degree of aleatoric elements within a tightly-structured, three movement framework – seems fundamental to its enduring success. This case study focuses on a performance given at the University of York in 2007 which, apparently, was the first time the work had been played in the UK. What is of most interest though, is that this was student-run concert. Why, with such a wealth of new music available to these young players, was there so much commitment to performing this particular piece? What captured the imagination of this generation? This paper explores the idea that Colori is not just a piece of colours and improvisations, it is also a work of coherence and integration. Apparently irreconcilable opposites are – somehow – reconciled and an analytical exploration of issues of repetition, accumulation and dialogue can help us to understand this paradox. It may also begin to account for the continuing appeal of this music, even to a younger audience: Colori has become an iconic piece of (Finnish) musical modernism.

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