Nono: Intolleranza 1960

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Intolleranza 1960
PERFORMER: David Rampy, Urszula Koszut, Kathryn Harries, Jerrold van der Schaaf, Wolfgang Probst; Stuttgart State Opera Chorus, Stuttgart State Orchestra/Bernhard Kontarsky
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-97304-2 DDD
This is a passionate cry of protest against oppression, written by a committed Marxist. It calls itself music theatre, but there’s no story-line, just a series of tableaux in which the central character, the Emigrant, having fled from oppression as a miner, and endured ‘several experiences of intolerance and domination… begins to rediscover human relations’. Like all Nono’s music written of and for the masses, it’s written in a rebarbative style, full of harsh dissonance, fortissimo clusters and agonisingly splintered lines. The unremitting intensity of the music is matched at every moment by this blazing performance. David Rampy is stupendously impressive as the Emigrant, a real Heldentenor, and the choir handles its jagged lines with amazing confidence and accuracy. After a while, though, the harsh light of ideological instruction does become rather wearing. One longs for real characters, rather than these cyphers who utter slogans, defiance, or threats at the tops of their voices –not to mention some light and shade in the music. Ivan Hewett