Roger Marsh Composer

A-Ronne by Luciano Berio

Flyer and ticket for talk by Berio in London in 1974, when he introduced his new work ‘A-Ronne’.  The version he played us was the original radio version for 5 actors; it would be some time before the 8 voice version emerged for the Swingle Singers, and still longer before Vocem revived and staged the 5 voice version. It made a huge impression on me, and was the main influence on my Not a soul but ourselves… for amplified voices, which I composed in San Diego in 1977.

I remember that in the Q&A session afterwards, someone asked him if he felt a kinship with Frank Zappa whose music was also becoming quite ‘complex’. Berio’s answer was: “Yeah, I know Frank. But that’s a kind of fake complexity.”  He was also fond of talking about ‘stupid’ music. He didn’t easily win friends. Fortunately he didn’t need to.