Bruno Maderna was one of the most influential composers in the twentieth century. He was the eldest of the group of Italian composers born in the 1920s (along with Berio, Nono, Donatoni, and others) who began their career shortly before the second World War and were able to exploit the opportunities offered by the new world that emerged in the post-war years.
Maderna’s story is quite unique. He rose to fame early in life as a child prodigy and his exceptional talent was soon noticed by Gian Francesco Malipiero, who stimulated his interest in ancient music, a passion that remained constant even when the European avant-garde insisted that new music should start from year zero. After first approaching “classic” dodecaphony, his musical style then tended toward total serialism and “open form.” In his last years he developed a particular interest for the theater. Satyricon was born in Tanglewood in a short version and later achieved notable success worldwide. His work as a conductor made him particularly sensitive to the reaction of the public, leading him to carefully calibrate his approach to composition without being swayed by fashionable ideals or philosophies. Despite his warm and outgoing nature, Maderna rarely expressed his personal views in writing or in interviews.
Many of the biographical details given here are taken from his correspondence and from reports of his travels and engagements across the world, which took him as far as the United States, Iran South America, and Japan.
Rossana Dalmonte began her academic career at Bologna University asassistant professor of history of music. From 1987 to 2008, she was full professor of musicology at Trento University, where she also directed an international PhD in “music sciences.” She founded the Istituto Liszt in Bologna and became director of the Institute’s periodicals Quaderni dell’Istituto Liszt and Rarità Lisztiane.
Mario Baroni was formerly director of the department of music at Bologna University. He founded the Italian association for the analysis and theory of music (GATM), and for three years was president of the European Society for the Study of Cognitive Aspects of Music (ESCOM).
List of Illustrations
Chapter I: From Birth to the End of the War
Chapter II: From Venice to Darmstadt
Chapter III: Between Milan and Darmstadt
Chapter IV: Musica ex Machina
Chapter V: The Crisis of Total Serialism
Chapter VI: Changes in Life and Writing in the Sixties
Chapter VII: The Hyperion Cycle
Chapter VIII: The American Years
Index of Cities, etc.
Index of Names
Index of Works
Bruno Maderna: His Life and Music is a valuable addition to the growing list of literature about the composer. It not only gives a thorough account of his life, but it thoughtfully traces his creative development as he absorbed, tested, and ultimately adopted or rejected the panoply of techniques at his disposal. Maderna’s life is discussed in light of the vibrant musical and political activity of Italy and Europe in the 20th century, and how he forged his own creative voice amid the turbulence of his time. Numerous letters are quoted, and there is plenty of background info about prominent figures in Maderna’s life.